Land of Smoke
Sara Gallardo, Jessica Sequeira
‘One of my favourite books by one of my favourite Argentinian authors’ Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream
‘Diamantine, intense and violent’ Times Literary Supplement
Dazzling and hallucinatory, the stories in this collection recall the masters of magical realism – but with Sara Gallardo’s distinctive slant. An old man wakes up one morning to find that his beloved garden is floating away, with him on board. A young woman moves to Buenos Aires, bringing with her a replacement head. A meek German missionary leaves Paraguay for the Pampas, unprepared for what he will discover there.
Resplendent with otherworldly imagery and beguiling prose, Land of Smoke presents a uniquely compelling voice in Latin American literature.
Part of the Pushkin Press Classics series: timeless storytelling by icons of literature, hand-picked from around the globe.
Translated by Jessica Sequeira
Sara Gallardo was a celebrated and prize-winning Argentinian writer, born in Buenos Aires in 1931. Her first book was published in 1958, and by the time she died in 1988, she had published novels, short stories, children’s books, and essays. Written after the death of her second husband, Land of Smoke is the first of her books to be translated into English.
Shortlisted for the Society of Authors Premio Valle Inclan Prize "Gallardo's short story collection pushes the form in new and unexpected directions... This is a significant addition to South American literature in translation; the breadth of Gallardo's imagination expands the canon." - Kirkus Reviews "Remarkable stories. . . a consistently surprising and enigmatic read." - Los Angeles Times "She writes with an air of authority (which Jessica Sequeira has translated from Spanish brilliantly) that begs your trust... Gallardo's succinct descriptions define the tangible - the weather, the landscape, the physical circumstances - while her plots are fantastical. The former grounds the latter, making anything seem possible." - Chicago Review of Books "Translator Jessica Sequeira has made a fine rendition of this collection, with its several sections loosely linked by theme or motif, and its dazzling switches of narrative mode... The very short story, at which Gallardo excels, is a gift to the poet... massively ambitious, and often successful." -- Asymptote Journal "At all turns, these stories are unsettling, surprising, and unmissable. Land of Smoke is a bountiful collection of short stories, full of sharp edges, odd magic, and unexpected allure." - Foreword Reviews "[Gallardo] shines as a compassionate storyteller." - The National "The forty-six stories and fragments in Land of Smoke...offer a gamut of lengths, themes and moods... the best are diamantine, intense and violent." - Times Literary Supplement "[Land of Smoke] is a haunting cornucopia of the strangest fare Southern South America can possibly offer." - Agustin Pico Estrada, Bookanista "Masterfully crafted short stories... Gallardo's success lies in the unusual twists and turns of her narratives... This collection should be ranked alongside other great works of fiction by Latin American female writers." - Morning Star "Land of Smoke is my favourite book by one of my favourite Argentinian authors." - Samanta Schweblin, Man Booker International Prize shortlisted author of Fever Dream "Land of Smoke dazzles in its highly personal language... glowing with the most absolute desperation and the fierce joy of discovering, capturing and sharing the glory of one's experiences." - Leopoldo Brizuela "Someone who wears different coloured glasses to everybody else." - Mercedes Halfon "A wonderful collection. It reads like a selection from a lifetime's work." - 1stReading (blog) "Sara Gallardo's work possesses such radical originality it would be most appropriate to categorize it with the kind of literature that doesn't seem like anything else, that doesn't even fit the canon of the established heterodoxy, and that will always be read as a discovery." - Martin Kohan
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