Alastair Reid (1926 -2014) was a poet, prose chronicler, translator, and traveler. Born in Scotland, he came to the United States in the early 1950s, began publishing his poems in The New Yorker in 1951, and for the next fifty-odd years was a traveling correspondent for that magazine. Having lived in both Spain and Latin America for long spells, he was a constant translator of poetry from the Spanish language, in particular the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda. He published more than forty books, among them two word books for children, Ounce Dice Trice, with drawings by Ben Shahn, and Supposing…, with drawings by Bob Gill, both available from The New York Review Children’s Collection.

IN THE REVIEW

You Can Go Home Again

Living to Tell the Tale

by Gabriel García Márquez,translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
Last year, at the age of seventy-five, Gabriel García Márquez published in Barcelona Vivir para contarla; now it is brought into English as Living to Tell the Tale, in a beautiful translation by Edith Grossman, the first of three projected volumes of memoir. It was thirty-five years earlier, in early June 1967, that Editorial Sudamericana launched a novel by the then unknown Colombian writer, called Cien Años de Soledad. They were sufficiently impressed by the novel to risk a first printing of eight thousand copies. A week or so later, they were reprinting, and I imagine they are still.

When the Era Was an Era

The Feast of the Goat

by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
A new book by Mario Vargas Llosa always provokes attention, for there are few novelists alive as dedicated as he is to the possibilities of fiction, in all its moods, modes, and manners. His writing life has been not just steadily productive but constantly inventive. His novels are so skillfully …

Of Heaven and Hell

The Inferno of God is not in need of the splendor of fire. When, at the end of things, Judgment Day resounds on the trumpets and the earth opens and yields up its entrails and nations reconstruct themselves from dust to bow before the unappealable …

Report from an Undeclared War

News of a Kidnapping

by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Edith Grossman
In late February of this year, just as Colombia was preparing to celebrate his seventieth birthday on March 6, Gabriel García Márquez announced from his house in Cartagena that he would not be present for the occasion. Colombia, he said, “had become an uncomfortable country, uncertain and troubling for a …

Talking Cuba

Mea Cuba

by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. translated by Kenneth Hall with the author
“To be Cuban is to be born in Cuba. To be Cuban is to go with Cuba everywhere. To be Cuban is to carry Cuba like a persistent memory. We all carry Cuba within like an unheard music, like a rare vision that we know by heart. Cuba is a …

Sudden Death

Ever since it was announced, on July 4, 1988, that the World Cup finals would be played off in the United States this year, the event assumed a curious cast in the attention of the sporting press, as if it were to be a vast sociological experiment, a study in …

Urn Burial

Samaná, Dominican Republic—Although elections crop up in the news these days with the regularity of sporting events, the results we bear away from them reveal little of the often seismic nature of their happening, or the political murk that has accompanied them. This is certainly the case in the Dominican …

Troublemaker

Before Night Falls

by Reinaldo Arenas, translated by Dolores M. Koch

El Central

translated by Anthony Kerrigan
(The last three titles comprise the first three volumes of the Pentagonía, his agony in five parts. The remaining volumes, The Color of Summer and The Assault, have still to appear in English.) Among the Latin American writers who have attracted attention since the Sixties, Reinaldo Arenas has remained somewhat …