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Covering some of the best Mexican short story writing, Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction offers an anthology of stories translated from Spanish to English for the first time, all written by some of Mexico’s finest authors born after 1945.  The short fiction ranges from the intellectually stimulating to the humorous with everything in between; but be it serious or funny, it’s all great writing that will keep the reader hooked.  

Part of the Latin American Literature Series published by Dalkey Archive Press, Best of Contemporary Fiction contains both the English translations and the original Spanish; English on the right hand page, Spanish on the left.  If you haven’t read many translated works, translations can sometimes be a little jerky or feel contrived.  I have never experienced that in any of the books published by Dalkey, and I certainly don’t here.  The English versions read smoothly, and Spanish speakers will enjoy reading the stories in the original.  As an English speaker, I’m happy to see the stories of Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction translated, thus reaching a larger audience of enthusiastic readers, of which I am certainly one.

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just tell me why you’d like to read Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

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Real enough to make you wonder how the author could have lived so many lives, sad enough to hope he didn’t, Down to a Sunless Sea is a collection of short stories in varied shades of humanity.  Author Mathias B. Freese writes in a wide range of convincing voices.  One thing I like to see in a short story collection is an array of different voices.  As a character actor shapeshifts and reinvents himself from one part to the next, every one of Freese’s stories has a completely different perspective.  It’s as if the bus stops and the reader gets off and hails a taxi for the next “ride” on another point of view.  Much more enticing to a reader, I believe, than feeding the same tone over and over, changing only a scenario, as oftentimes happens in the short story collection.

The one common thread throughout the book is a sort of psychological look into each main character and a darkness that seems to permeate each life.  It wasn’t until I’d finished the book that I read on the back cover that Mathias Freese is in fact a clinical social worker and psychotherapist.  His 25 years experience in these fields has richly added to his fine capacity to tell a riveting short story; the overall impression is one of well-written human observation.

Want to win your own copy of this award-winning collection?  We’ve got one to give away!

Rules for Entry:

1.) Just tell me why you’d like to read Down to a Sunless Sea.  (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.


I’ve just finished reading 100 books. Well, sort of. Giorgio Manganelli’s Centuria contains 100 short-short stories, each taking up only about 1 1/2 pages. What I thought would be 100 short scenes making for somewhat light reading turned out to me much more substantial and intense. Manganelli (1922 – 1990) had a mastery of language that allowed him to condense his intentions into compact storytelling, somewhat like a poet who can take a few well-chosen words to create a complete scene. The Centuria experiment proves it page after page.

Each of the 100 stories, originally published in Italian, shows the trials a character’s life is under, his interactions with others, his moral struggles or his deep dark sin, all within this micro-tale. Because each one is so full of detail, it’s not a book one would want to sit down and slam through in the course of an evening, but rather digest over time. I’d recommend reading one when you have a few moments’ spare “brain absorption” time, to turn them over in your mind. Rushing through them would be a disservice.

Giorgio Manganelli was born and died in Italy and was considered a leader of the Italian Avant-garde movement during the 1960’s. Centuria was first published in 1979 and was winner of the Viareggio Prize in Literature that same year.

If you are a writer, whether aspiring or established, reading Centuria might be just the boost you need to get out a notebook and start your own short-short story collection. Or a collection of 1 1/2 page dialogues or character sketches. It would make a fantastic writer’s exercise – just don’t measure your progress to that of Manganelli. You’ll find his fine Italian shoes hard to fill.