2. 'The Book of Embraces,' by Eduardo Galeano
If you take the molds for historian, poet, critic, storyteller, journalist, novelist, and artist and blend them all together, what or who, you’d have is Eduardo Galeano. He is an author who defies categorization, and his books are written across the boundaries of genre. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1940, Galeano’s work chronicles the history, or perhaps more aptly, the experience of Latin America. “I'm a writer obsessed with remembering,” says Galeano, “with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.”
"The Book of Embraces" is a mosaic of vignettes, meticulously laid out – poetry next to autobiography, next to political commentary, pushed up against allegory and myth. Galeano is a wonderous and radical storyteller, whose brainchild – whose veritable book of wonders – is an articulation of just where the limits of language and storytelling lie.
"The Book of Embraces" has a vast and visionary scope but also an intensely intimate one. His musings are as much about love and loss as they are about justice and the chasm of history.
"When it is genuine,” Galeano writes, “when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice.... Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others." In his writing, he creates worlds nestled within worlds, and with a flourish of his pen, he invites us in. He bids us “turn loose the voices, undream the dreams,” and, caught up in his writing, you do. He leaves you no other choice.