Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain
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Synopsis

The well-intentioned protagonists of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara are caught -- to both disastrous and hilarious effect -- in the maelstrom of political and social upheaval surrounding them. In "Near-Extinct Birds of the Central Cordillera," an ornithologist being held hostage in the Colombian rain forest finds that he respects his captors for their commitment to a cause, until he realizes that the Revolution looks a lot like big business. In "The Good Ones Are Already Taken," the wife of a Special Forces officer battles a Haitian voodoo goddess with whom her husband is carrying on a not-entirely-spiritual relationship. And in "The Lion's Mouth," a disillusioned aid worker makes a Faustian bargain to become a diamond smuggler for the greater good. With masterful pacing and a robust sense of the absurd, each story in Brief Encounters with Che Guevara is a self-contained adventure, steeped in the heady mix of tragedy and danger, excitement and hope, that characterizes countries in transition.

Through Fountain's rounded and novelistic prose, these intelligent and keenly observed stories are painted in provocative and vibrant detail across a global canvas. Brief Encounters with Che Guevara marks the arrival of a striking and resonant new voice that speaks adeptly to the intimate connection between the foreign, the familiar, and the inescapably human.

 

About Ben Fountain

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Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and a Whiting Writers' Award, among other honors and awards. He and his family live in Dallas.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 239 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

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In the title story, the narrator learns that one of his coworkers at a moving company claims to have killed the famous Cuban revolutionary, and in “The Good Ones Are Already Taken,” a special-ops soldier returns from Haiti to his wife in Fayetteville, N.C., where he tells her he’s now married to ...

Aug 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Brief Encounters with Che Gue...

The New York Times

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First Chapter: ‘Brief Encounters With Che Guevara’ (August 27, 2006) Readers’ Opinions Forum: Book News and Reviews This travel memory illustrates the fundamental dilemma — the inability of well-meaning Americans to personally redress global wrongs — that lies at the heart of “Brief...

Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of Brief Encounters with Che Gue...

Bookmarks Magazine

Ariel Gonzalez Cleveland Plain Dealer 3.5 of 5 Stars "The collection does contain a couple of misses, where Fountain lets his lively sense of the absurd get out of hand—these include an overheated voodoo love story and a parody about a washed-up golf pro giving putting lessons in Burma."

Aug 22 2007 | Read Full Review of Brief Encounters with Che Gue...

Austin Chronicle

Still, Fountain is able to make the story entertaining, and despite any qualms about the depths of his examinations, he is always able to compel the reader to turn the page and discover what happens next.

Aug 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Brief Encounters with Che Gue...

The Rumpus

Fountain might be working on the novel because he wants to write a novel and feels done with the short story for a while, but too often writers are pushed from their strengths toward more “marketable” projects.

Jan 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Brief Encounters with Che Gue...

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