Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer / ISBN 9781931520058 / 246-page paperback from Small Beer Press [one discounted copy with light shelfwear]
This is the first of Argentinean writer Angélica Gorodischer's nineteen award-winning books to be translated into English. In eleven chapters, Kalpa Imperial's multiple storytellers relate the story of a fabled nameless empire which has risen and fallen innumerable times. Fairy tales, oral histories and political commentaries are all woven tapestry-style into Kalpa Imperial: beggars become emperors, democracies become dictatorships, and history becomes legends and stories.
But this is much more than a simple political allegory or fable. It is also a celebration of the power of storytelling. Gorodischer and translator Ursula K. Le Guin are a well-matched, sly and delightful team of magician-storytellers. Rarely have author and translator been such an effortless pairing. Kalpa Imperial is a powerful introduction to the writing of Angélica Gorodischer, a novel which will enthrall readers already familiar with the worlds of Le Guin.
Selected for the New York Times Summer Reading list.
"The dreamy, ancient voice is not unlike Le Guin's, and this collection should appeal to her fans as well as to those of literary fantasy and Latin American fiction."—Library Journal (Starred Review)
"There's a very modern undercurrent to the Kalpa empire, with tales focusing on power (in a political sense) rather than generic moral lessons. Her mythology is consistent—wide in scope, yet not overwhelming. The myriad names of places and people can be confusing, almost Tolkeinesque in their linguistic originality. But the stories constantly move and keep the book from becoming overwhelming. Gorodischer has a sizeable body of work to be discovered, with eighteen books yet to reach English readers, and this is an impressive introduction."—Review of Contemporary Fiction
"Borges and Cortázar are alive and well."—Bridge Magazine
"Those looking for offbeat literary fantasy will welcome Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, by Argentinean writer Angélica Gorodischer. Translated from the Spanish by Ursula Le Guin, this is the first appearance in English of this prize-winning South American fantasist."—Publishers Weekly
"It's always difficult to wrap up a rave review without babbling redundant praises. This time I'll simply say "Buy this Book!""—Locus
"The elaborate history of an imaginary country...is Nabokovian in its accretion of strange and rich detail, making the story seem at once scientific and dreamlike."—Time Out New York
Kalpa Imperial has been awarded the Prize "Más Allá" (1984), the Prize "Sigfrido Radaelli" (1985) and also the Prize Poblet (1986). It has had four editions in Spanish: Minotauro (Buenos Aires), Alcor (Barcelona), Gigamesh (Barcelona), and Planeta Emecé Editions (Buenos Aires).