Hunter of Stories

In This Review

Hunter of Stories
By Eduardo Galeano. Translated by Mark Fried
Nation Books, 2017
272 pp.
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Galeano (1940–2015) exemplified the literary left that held sway in Latin America from the 1960s through the 1980s. Sales of the Uruguayan’s most famous polemic, Open Veins of Latin America, spiked in 2009, when Hugo Chávez, the populist strongman president of Venezuela, handed a copy to U.S. President Barack Obama at a summit meeting. Hunter of Stories collects bite-sized anecdotes and narratives, generally just a few paragraphs long, many with ironic intent. They often revisit the central theme of Galeano’s work: the majesty and wisdom of the indigenous people of the Americas juxtaposed against the grave injustices imposed on the oppressed masses by the most powerful, be they Spanish conquistadors, military dictators, hypocritical “democrats,” large U.S. corporations, or the International Monetary Fund. Galeano, a self-proclaimed eternal optimist, had a passion for giving voice to the weak and illiterate and for recording the heroism of the vanquished: “the eternal battle of indignation against indignity,” he called it. Galeano was also a close observer of the marvels and rhythms of the natural world. Contemplating his own sickness and old age, this passionate rebel and storyteller once viewed an astonishing sunset and lamented: “It would be so unfair to die and see it no longer.”

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