War of time by Alejo Carpentier; Translated from the Spanish by Frances Partridge.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. Stated "First American Edition" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 179 pages ; 22 cm. $4.95 dust jacket. Rubber stamp price marked on flyleaf. Blind stamp on half title page. Bow to cover board. No markings to pages. Binding is firm.
Alejo Carpentier, like few other Latin American writers of our day, has transcended his geography; his voice — like his reputation — is international. In France and England, the United States and Spain, the publication of a new book by him is a major literary event.
The five magnificently told narratives that make up War of Time are true for all the times they evoke —from our own back to that of Noah. Each of them is a success in its own right, each complements the other four. In "The Highroad of Saint James," a man goes on a pilgrimage from Antwerp through Europe to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In "Right of Sanctuary," a modern political refugee finds an inexplicable new life in the embassy of a foreign nation. "Journey Back to the Source" relates the strange and meaningful occurrences accompanying the demolition of an old house. "Like the Night" is the story of a Greek girl trying to satisfy her future husband's craving for profane love and meeting a curious rebuff. In "The Chosen," more than one Noah sets out upon the waters to preserve the future.
Everywhere in these narratives, an extraordinarily rich and imaginative mind speculates upon, evokes, and criticizes the human condition and what men do in accepting and altering it. Carpentier's writing is of the rarest depth and resonance.
Alejo Carpentier Valmont was born in Havana, Cuba, on December 26, 1904. After primary and secondary schooling in Cuba and a brief time at the University of Havana as a student of architecture, he became a journalist and radio-station director. Also a musicologist, he has taught both the history of music and the history of culture. His travels have taken him to Mexico, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Haiti, the United States, and the Andean republics, as well as to the upper reaches of the Orinoco River and the Gran Sabana— which in part supplied the setting for his most famous novel, Los Pasos Perdidos (The Lost Steps). Carpentier's first novel was Ecue-Yamba-O (Madrid, 193 3). He has also published a study of Afro-Cuban music and several novels, including, besides Los Pasos Perdidos, El Reino de Este Mundo (The Kingdom of This World, 1957) and El Siglo de las Luces (Explosion in a Cathedral, 1963). His Invocations were set to music by Darius Milhaud. Carpentier has several times been put forward as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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