The Collected Stories of Moacyr Scliar by Moacyr Scliar
(Jewish Latin America Series)

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Synopsis

From Brazil's most distinguished and important Jewish writer comes this anthology comprised of six collections: in The Carnival of the Animals, Scliar uses political allegory to convey what was normally censored during the height of repression under Brazil's military regime. These tragicomic stories reveal Scliar's interest in issues of oppression, persecution, holocaust, mutability, and the interplay between good and evil. The Ballad of the False Messiah develops the theme of postponement in the sense that for Jews redemption is always postponed in a vain wait for the Messiah. In The Tremulous Earth Scliar explores cruelty and violence in the tenuous lives of his characters, but his experience as a medical doctor informs his compassion for human frailty. Scliar expands his use of fantasy and magical realism in The Dwarf in the Television Set in topics that range from Jewish prophets to marital revenge. The Enigmatic Eye has been described as a masterpiece evoking the enigmas of art and life, and in Van Gogh's Ear, Scliar uses dark and subtle humor in a collection of biblical parables. Here witchcraft, magic, conundrums, and labyrinths are shown to be part of everyday life. A final autobiographical piece ties the collections together in which Scliar discusses his membership in Jewish, medical, gaucho, and Brazilian "tribes."

These powerful stories, individually humorous, bleak, or haunting, together bring a compelling voice of the Jewish Diaspora to the wide readership it deserves.

 

About Moacyr Scliar

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Scliar was born and still lives in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. A physician since 1962, Scliar started his career as a writer telling stories about his experiences as a young doctor. He is a prolific writer and has produced more than 10 novels, many of which have won literary prizes. He studied at the Yiddish College in Porto Alegre and went to a Catholic school for his secondary studies. This childhood experience provided the imaginative background for many of his stories. His writing has much of what he called "his Jewishness": "As much as possible I live in peace with my Jewishness. I have extracted from it what it has of the best: fantasy, ethical substance, and above all, humor" (Escrever & Viver). The Centaur in the Garden is a story about a centaur who is Brazilian and Jewish, a fantasy of the half-horse, half-human child who grows into adulthood in search of his identity.
 
Published September 1, 1999 by University of New Mexico Press. 499 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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