Tale of a certain orient (3)

Manaus memories, by Chris Moss – Times Literary Supplement, July 23, 2004

English, Press  

 Memory is a well-established theme inm contemporary Latin American fiction, and perhaps the primary obsession of its finests exponents. From Rayuela by Julio Cortázar, to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, to The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa, the reconstruction of the past is a duty forced on those who have reason to question their individual and collective identities and doubt the vearcity of the histories passed to them by others. But a more Proustian motive underlies Milton Hatoum´s exploration of memory in this story of a childhood spent in the Amazoninan port of Manaus. http://www.miltonhatoum.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Site_pasta_Tale_TLS_July23_2004.jpg translated by John Gledson

Grieving hearts – The Observer, August 26 2007, by Olivia Laing

English, Press  

Tale of a Certain Orient, by Milton Hatoum. Bloomsbury £7.99

At the end of this strange and intricate novel, the narrator describes her attempt at telling the story of her extended Lebanese family, exiled in the Brazilian town of Manaus, ‘as if I were trying to whisper to you the melody of a stolen music’. The analogy is an accurate one: there is a lyrical, symphonic quality to Hatoum’s writing that is peculiarly beguiling. His book amounts to a love letter to a lost world, with all the attentive recollection of physical details – parrots, clocks, slaughtered sheep, Christmas feasts and all – that the time traveller requires. Dramatic tension comes through the slow revelation of a series of secrets, key among them the mystery of the deaf-mute child Soraya Angela, whose silent presence heightens tensions within her family with devastating consequences.

Memories of Manaus – The Irish Times – Saturday, July 10, 2004

English, Press  

The Irish Times – Saturday, July 10, 2004 Memories of Manaus Eileen Battersby FICTION/Tale Of A Certain Orient: Emilie, a courageous family matriarch who has borne her many sorrows with dignity, is about to die. Her family and friends await the impending loss and have arrived to take their places in the lamentation, or have they? This is a subtle, beautiful and melancholic novel, steeped in memory; its wonder, its burdens and its many secrets. A granddaughter has returned to say goodbye to the woman who most shaped her life, or at least her understanding of what life amounts to – a telling gesture, a family myth. Early in the narrative, Hatoum, a storyteller with an artist's eye and a philosopher's soul, makes it clear that his narrator, a self- described “passive observer” has undertaken a journey that is far more complicated than a farewell. She may be preparing her goodbye to her grandmother, but she is also directing her impressions, observations and discoveries to the brother she has not seen for a long time. Our narrator soon emerges as a troubled sleep walker, trapped by vivid images and ghosts that have not yet set her free and, as the narrative […]