Profile: Revista Semana (Colombia)

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» Posted by Santiago, on Thu, September 13, 2007
» category: News
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Latest Reviews, Quotes & Profiles:

From The New Yorker:
“Strong and simple . . . [it] never falters.”

From Le Monde (France):
“A first book as magical as it is realistic. A utopia knowledgeably wrought, rich and deliciously optimistic.”

From the Washington Post Book World Review:
“Enchanting . . . a rollicking and often shocking tale that Cañón tells with charm and bite.”

From Elle:
“Mesmerizing . . . From it’s bravura opening, James Cañón’s brilliant novel has an imaginative reach that encompasses political, philosophical, sexual, religious, and magical realms while it also explores the deeper conflicts between tradition and freedom.”   

From Chicago Tribune:
“. . . There’s more than enough here to make this [novel] a debut worth honoring.”

From Kirkus Reviews
“Slyly pushing the envelope Aristophanes opened with Lysistrata, debut novelist Cañón exultantly sets up the saga of Colombian women on top . . . Prime magic realism à la Márquez, Cortázar and Vargas Llosa, updated with a pop-culture twist.” 

From Kirkus’ Top Picks for Reading Groups Issue:
“An immensely rewarding debut . . . Tackling politics, gender, history, religion and Latin America studies with a surprisingly winning combination of laugh-out-loud humor and poignant chronicles of the chaos and devastation of a society fractured by civil strife, Cañón’s tale is unique and inspiring.

From School Library Journal:
“Thought-provoking . . . tragic, funny, rich, and magical . . . The theme of a world in which women and men are separated and pursue divergent paths is always intriguing, and has been explored by a number of fine writers in science fiction, fantasy, polemic, and utopian modes. This title stands among the best of them.” 

From Booklist:
“Increasingly delicious . . . Start with a broth of magic realism à la Gabriel García Márquez, toss in a soupçon of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, add a twist of the musical play Brigadoon and even some ingredients from the Book of Genesis, and then top off with some borrowings from post-revolutionary France, and you have a first novel that is not a derivative pot of unintegrated elements but an inventively rich stew.”

From Library Journal:
“Highly recommended . . . The story of these women touches our deepest emotions and reveals fundamental needs and concerns. This exciting book confirms the idea that our world would be far better off in the caring hands of women—especially the women from Mariquita.”   

From The Australian:
”. . . Remarkable and impressive . . . Cañón’s first novel has the potential not only to set him up as a novelist but to focus attention on the suffering of the voiceless and powerless in his country of origin.”

From Libération (France):
“. . . a burlesque that’s swollen like the picture of Botero on its cover: a kind of magical lantern lighting the blackness of a civil war.”

From Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitun/FAZ (Germany):
“Cañón’s first novel fascinates for his humor, delight, sensibility, and for his critical mind.”

From Madame Figaro (France):
“Magnificent, horrifying, generous and sensual.”

From Padhuis Press (Netherlands):
” Unforgettable . . . a sparkling novel by a masterful storyteller.

From Glamour (Germany):
“Ingenious and highly entertaining. . . it carries serious depth.”

From Le Maine Libre (France):
“James Cañón embraces lushness, violence, humour and atrocity with the largeness that characterizes the best South American literature.”

From Edelweiss (Switzerland):
“A fable full of humor, which takes women to the highest level, for the biggest pleasure of the readers . . . a tragicomedy full of spirit.”

From U.K. Herald (England):
“A beautifully crafted story . . . a fresh, startling perspective on a long and bloody conflict.”

From Buchkultur (Germany):
” . . . Full of melancholy and beauty. Into clear, simple language Cañón writes about the absurdity of the war, and in the best South American narrative tradition.

From OutSmart Magazine:
“It would be easy to say that ‘this is a female utopia book that really works,’ but that would minimize the brilliance of this major work.”

From Leestafel (Netherlands):
“A splendid novel!”

From Neue Presse (Germany):
“Oh, what a magic narrator Colombian author James Cañón is!  The look on human depths he shows up among the absurdity of the war are linguistically, virtually and affectionately insightful. Read!”

From Melbourne Herald Sun (Australia):
“[A] fabulous debut . . . Thought-provoking, darkly funny and sad.” 

From Financial Times (England):
“James Cañón’s first novel presents a lively mixture of magic realism and Amazonian feminist politics. But he never strays far from the historical violence that has riven his native Colombia since the 1960’s.”

From North List (Korea):
“Every page is better than the one before.”

From Good Reading Magazine (Australia):
“A triumph not only of characterisation (of which there are many) but also in the study of political science and sociology.”

From Freundin (Germany):
“Wonderful, ingenious and full of life . . . A fascinating homage to femininity.”

From DNA Magazine (Australia):
” . . . Earthy, accomplished, and highly imaginative.”

From The Sunday Business Post (Ireland):
“Wickedly satirical . . . Cañón’s [debut novel] builds an impressively progressive feminist socialist ideal that gives human societies a ‘second opportunity on this earth’.”   

From Chronogram:
“Cañón, with his ability to encapsulate epic political history into poignant, poetic prose, promises to evolve into an enduring literary presence.”

From Readings Monthly (Australia):
“A fascinating debut, blending the supernatural and the allegorical.”

From El Paso Times:
“Ambitious, charming, imaginative.”

From Metro (England):
“A beautifully crafted book.”

From Indianapolis Times:
“Captivating.” 

From Notebook Magazine (Australia):
”. . . Intriguing . . . a thought-provoking debut novel.”

From Strandbooks.com:
“[An] astonishing debut.”

From Pages Magazine:
“A stunning, unique novel.”   

From Sunjournal:
“Commendable.”

From The Brooklyn Paper:
“Name another author who moved to New York at age 26 to learn English and started his writing career with a grammar course at NYU. It doesn’t happen too often — but neither do novels like Tales from the Town of Widows, the debut by James Cañón. Set in a fictional Colombian town, the book follows the lives of men who are all killed or “recruited” by guerillas, and the women who are left to fend for themselves. Along the way, Cañón introduces us to colorful characters, including an ample-bottomed magistrate, a stern schoolmistress and a cow named Perestroika.”

From ReviewThisOnline.com:
“What if there were no men? What if one day they just all disappeared? On November 15, 1992 in the small Colombian village of Mariquita that is exactly what happened. In Cañón’s debut novel he tackles the issues of a strictly feminine society, while educating readers about the political climate and struggles of Colombia as a nation. An entertaining view on the role of women in society and insight into the time old question, Do we really need men to survive?”

From Bookslut.com:
“[Tales From the Town of Widows] mixes supernatural and allegorical elements into an account of a dying town.”

From Benjamin Kunkel, author of “Indecision”:
“James Cañón achieves an extraordinary combination of largeness and intimacy. Here is the sweep of history together with the feeling of home, both conveyed with high intelligence and real eloquence. Cañón is a young American—in the broader, hemispheric sense of the word—to celebrate.” 

From Maureen Howard, author of “The Silver Screen”:
“Cañón is a gifted storyteller, as full of his radical purpose as Jonathan Swift, as enchanting as Gabriel García-Márquez, as brainy as Pamuk, yet his anger and compassion, as well as his humor, are distinctly his own.”

From Joan Silber, author of “Household Words”:
“Like his villagers, Cañón has built a new world on an old—a realigned literary landscape, with new sex roles, new stubbornness, new glory, and new wreckage. A much-loved tradition of Colombian fiction has been gorgeously re-imagined.”

From El Diario Montañés (España)
“Cañón vivió esa metamorfosis de la que sólo pueden presumir un puñado de autores privilegiados: Conrad, Kafka, Nabokov o Kundera. Escritores capaces de firmar obras magistrales en una lengua que no es la suya. O que no lo era, pues el propio Cañón relata en su web cómo utilizó la redacción de esta novela para aprender inglés; es decir, para profundizar en su conocimiento hasta el punto de poder explotar sus habilidades literarias y crear textos de calidad. De alta calidad, añadimos.”

Profile: Letralia (Venezuela):
“James Cañón pertenece a esa estirpe subversiva de escritores de lengua nómada y memoria fiel.”

Profile: Semana (Colombia):
“Lo maravilloso es que la mano de Cañón no tiembla ni se dobla, avanza armada de confianza, precisión y humor.”

   

» Posted by Santiago, on Wed, September 12, 2007
» category: Press
» Permalink