Maqroll’s Prayer and Other Poems

Álvaro Mutis


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The New York Review of Books, Inc
12 March 2024
ISBN: 9781590178744
128 pages

From the publisher

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews, Edith Grossman and Alastair Reid

Álvaro Mutis’s fantastical, gripping, unnerving tales of the exploits and adventures of Maqroll, the Gaviero, or watchman, an inveterate wanderer both on land and sea, are among the most beloved works of twentieth-century Latin American fiction. Like the stories of Borges, like the novels of Mutis’s great friend García Márquez, they conjure a strange world of their own that also holds up a mirror, disquieting and revelatory, to the everyday world we imagine we know. 

If Maqroll eventually found his way into prose, he began his career in poetry, and it was as a poet that Mutis first made his name as a writer. This bilingual selection of Mutis’s haunting verse, with its evocations, now lush, now stark, of the landscapes of South America, with its prayers to an unknown god, is the first to be published in English. Rendered by Chris Andrews, Edith Grossman, and Alastair Reid, masters of the art of translation, these resonant poems offer a dazzling new entry into the imagination of one of the most original and memorable writers of modern times.