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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — El arpa y la sombra by Alejo Carpentier. El arpa y la sombra by Alejo Carpentier. PaperbackBiblioteca Carpentierpages.
Published June by Alianza first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about El arpa y la sombraplease sign up. Lists with This Book. May 27, Mateo R. II de Artemidoro de Daldis. Jul 28, Gabriel rated it really liked it. Whereas the other Alejo Carpentier book I’ve read so far The Lost Steps or Los Pasos Perdidos was written with gargantuan paragraphs and it fit with the journey motif there, the same paragraphs here felt forced and lost meaning until the end.
However, much like Pasos arppa, as soon as your head wraps around the story and gets into the characters, a whole new carpentker opens before varpentier. It is told in three parts Whereas the other Alejo Carpentier book I’ve read so far The Lost Steps or Los Pasos Perdidos was written with gargantuan ssombra and it fit with the journey motif there, the same paragraphs here felt forced and lost meaning until the end.
It is told in three parts: What puts this in a class carentier itself is the same theme that made Pasos so cool, the idea that going to a purer state of being symbolized in both sombrz as going back to nature is possible and redeems the person, but only damns them in the eyes of “civilized” culture.
I look forward to finding an English copy of this book to further delve into the metaphors and twisting sentences most as long as normal paragraphs, as is Carpentier’s style and extracting that much more from the book. The end does make the reading of the book worth it.
The last section alone is worth the price of time and commitment as it holds true today. We still argue about the validity of idolizing Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of the Americas, but teach it to our kids anyway.
For those of you who disagree, see if you can’t finish this sentence: If your inner-scholar is looking for something more exciting than the accuracy of adolescent mannerisms in Harry Potter, than Carpentier is one place you could go.
Divertido y muy serio. Just in time for Columbus Day! I thought this was a very vivid and powerful character portrait. Mar 01, Lectora Incompredida rated it liked it. This is my original review published in the San Francisco Chronicle in July This adroit and involving novel, originally published in Cuba inprovides a look inside Christopher Columbus’ head that is sure to add considerably to our understanding of an explorer who gets so much credit for such inglorious accomplishments. Alejo Carpentier, a Cuban who died in”invented magical realism,” according to Carlos Fuentes.
A writer of considerable power, he shows his mastery most tellingl This is my original review published in the San Francisco Chronicle in July A writer of considerable power, he shows his mastery most tellingly in this novel’s construction. The book opens with Pope Pius IX as he considers signing papers that could lead to the beatification of Columbus in the mids.
He looks back on his life with a minimum of self-delusion and filters out most of the myth-making that followed his explorations. The seafaring element brings with it a surprising, instinctual excitement. When Columbus ventures north, he hears tales of a land across the ocean, a northerly land with bronze-skinned people paddling little boats made of animal skins. Such conjecture on Carpentier’s part is highly plausible, for soon Columbus becomes a kind of glorified Amway salesman, traveling from court to court with his gaudy presentation about how he can make a lot of money for anyone who has the vision to back him.
His pitch has nothing to do with discovering new worlds, everything to do with commerce. As Carpentier paints the picture, Columbus has an excellent in with Isabella, queen of Spain. Namely, he’s her lover.
El arpa y la sombra
Still, it is only after he threatens to take his services elsewhere that she fronts him the million maravedis he needs to outfit the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta.
Carpentier has some fun with his Columbus character during the voyage. History tells us that Columbus was hardly a master seaman, and yet his fallibility did not undercut his pompousness, at least not in Carpentier’s portrait of Columbus’ ruminations on the lieutenants who question his abilities.
This last accusation, despite the vexation it caused me, began to seem true, a source of private embarrassment. Isabella is not at all impressed with the gold Columbus brings back — ”gold that wouldn’t fill the cavity in a molar” — or with the small, sick men he has abducted in a feeble attempt to impress her.
Columbus’ spirit haunts the Carpsntier hearing on whether to make him a saint, and the differing views are pungent and vivid. On the one side are those who condemn Columbus for failing to marry his sobra and for introducing slavery to the New World.
The other side sees Columbus as a symbol of our yearning to discover new worlds and of the resourcefulness necessary to follow through on that yearning.
El Arpa y la Sombra by Alejo Carpentier (1999, Hardcover)
This side, which comes up with such lines as, ”But the true glory of Columbus was not that he reached land, somnra that he set sail,” does not win the argument. Initially, I was reading with wrong expectations. In my defence, the first chapter actually begins with pope Pius contemplating the possibility of Christopher Columbus’ sainthood, so I took for granted it’s going to be about the beatification process.
If you are fascinated by Americas’ official discoverer, then this book is for you. The plot follows Columbus’ struggle to launch the expedition and his later decisions on Cuba. Well written, at least Polish translation is, no complaints on this from Initially, I was reading with wrong expectations. Well written, at least Polish translation is, no complaints on this from me. Particularly I enjoyed carpentjer last chapter when Alejo’s magical realism shows up. It is also the time when devil’s advocate lives sombea to his role.
The scene with witnesses is that great.
Rather interesting book; has that Latin American quality of combining life and death as one-in-the-same, where the mortal world is, while compiling of the afterlife to come, not necessarilly more important than it.
This book is centered on Colombus, and, at the time it was written, was an extremely radical book. Prior, Colombus had been maintained with that Western propaganda with hardly any blemish allowed, and therefore Carpentier’s book really set the story straight. Colombus was a selfish, br Rather interesting book; has that Latin American quality of combining life and death as one-in-the-same, where the mortal world is, while compiling of the afterlife to come, not necessarilly more important than it.
Colombus was a selfish, brutal man who took South American’s as slaves and lied and cheated his way to his own notoriety. He is an explorer, and he genuinely is an important personage in history, but to make him out as a hero is where things have gone askew. But this is what the book covers. Carpentier makes Colombus as he was, or at least mostly. It’s fiction, and there’s some nationalistic politic within the text as well.
That said, the overall book is one of relative certainty in regards colonialist-era culture, and the prevalence of the text lies within that quality.
The actual quality of the book seems somewhat less, though. There’s a lot that’s happening, but at the same time there’s an apparent linearity to all of the events, a rapidity that seems to lose the impact possible in certain locations as it speeds from one encounter to the next. It’s a short, very fast book, and certainly entertaining but it’s apparent that Carpentier wanted something more from his writing here, something prolific and earth-shattering. And, again, it was for the time it was published, but now the book feels a little bit flat as the truth of Colombus’ character is more widely known.
I’d recommend the book; it is certainly important, and definitely fun. But the anachronistic quality should be remembered when reading. Feb 12, Yolanda Chapa rated it it was ok Shelves: Do you know about a cool way of traveling for free? It will open your horizon, and you will discover treasures. The book opens in the with Pope Pie IX, as he tries desperately to find reasons to beatify Columbus. As you can imagine, he can in no way find religi Do you know about a cool way of traveling for free?
As you can imagine, he can in no way find religious reasons for that in the life of Columbus, and has to turn implicitly to political reasons: But he cannot base his file on this explicitly. But he does the sign the document to start the process — as history says, it actually did not work out.
Incidentally, I am amazed that several times in history, religious and popes have pushed to To read my full review, please go to: Jul 08, L. Carpentier draws extensively on the journals of Columbus for the centerpiece of the novel: Sep 23, German Patarroyo rated it really liked it.
My last book of Carpentier A lot of books there are about Colon and its trip but this book creates an alucinated testimony from the same Colon and how its “glorious journey” almost is consequence of a betification process It begins with a pope’s attempt to canonize Christopher Columbus.
Along the way readers gets a look into the imagined mind of Columbus as he goes through his attempts to get funding for his voyages.
El arpa y la sombra by Alejo Carpentier
It ends with his spirit watching the conclave vote. Aug 08, Todor Ivanov rated it liked it.
Dec 25, Gandalfu rated it it was amazing.
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