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(01/22/2009) The Misplaced Machine & Other Stories by Jose J. Veiga. New York. 1970. Knopf. Translated From The Portuguese By Pamela G. Bird. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 143 pages. Jacket design by Guy Fleming. August 1970.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   To celebrate the first appearance in English of the work of one of Brazil's leading writers of fiction, this collection of short stories is published simultaneously with Jose J. Veiga's novel THE THREE TRIALS OF MANIRERMA. The narratives that make up THE MISPLACED MACHINE AND OTHER STORIES combine the element of terror with refining touches of tenderness, lightness, and lyricism. Some are poignant, some macabre, some ironically funny, but all imaginatively interweave mystery and fantasy with reality. A peddler enters a town where a wolf is being tortured, is inexplicably coerced to stay the night, and dies in the squalid stable of his captor. An Indian boy, taken to live with a white family, is abused and made the village slave; he is jailed for a trivial incident, forgotten, and then shot one holiday as he walks out of the open jail door. A widowed father parts with his son. A rich schoolboy's affair with a soldier's mistress is comically thwarted. Two children speculate on their appearance in the eyes of a huge creature. A small boy's fantasy about the beasts of the forest is contrasted with harsh reality. A painstakingly built highway is abandoned because of an unkillable rooster who leads to their death all who travel it. An old dog is jealous of a puppy - he eats it - but is haunted forever after. A strange machine is delivered by mistake to the center of a small town; no one knows what it is or how it works, but its very mystery makes it an object of worship. A small boy ponders the meaning of death as it occurs on the farm. Everywhere in these sensitive tales an ingenious storyteller comments on some of the enduring agonies of the human condition: jealousy, fear, death, brutality, and the haunted mind.

JOSE J. VEIGA was born in Corumba, Goias, Brazil, in 1915, and took his degree in law from the Universidade do Brasil in 1944. From 1940 to early 1945 he was assistant editor, then editor, of Revista do Serviao Piiblico, published by the Brazilian Civil Service Commission. Following World War II he worked in London in foreign-language broadcasting. Upon his return to Rio in 1950 he became first an editor for O Globo and later for Tribuna da Imprensa, both afternoon newspapers. Since 1952 he has been with the Brazilian Reader's Digest, where he is currently Editor for Condensed Books. In 1958 Veiga's Os Cavalinhos de Platiplanto shared the Monteiro Lobato Short Story Prize with two other candidates, and in 1960 the same collection won the Fabio Prado Prize. He is also the author of THE THREE TRIALS OF MANIREMA.

 

 

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