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Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That…
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Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was (edition 2003)

by Angélica Gorodischer, Ursula K. LeGuin (Translator)

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5021435,700 (3.89)48
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 theNew 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 welcomeKalpa 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). Praise for the Spanish-language editions ofKalpa Imperial: "Angélica Gorodischer, both from without and within the novel, accomplishes the indispensable function Salman Rushdie says the storyteller must have: not to let the old tales die out; to constantly renew them. And she well knows, as does that one who met the Great Empress, that storytellers are nothing more and nothing less than free men and women. And even though their freedom might be dangerous, they have to get the total attention of their listeners and, therefore, put the proper value on the art of storytelling, an art that usually gets in the way of those who foster a forceful oblivion and prevent the winds of change." --Carmen Perilli,La Gaceta, Tucuman "At a time when books are conceived and published to be read quickly, with divided attention in the din of the subway or the car, this novel is to be tasted with relish, in peace, in moderation, chewing slowly each and every one of the stories that make it up, and digesting it equally slowly so as to properly assimilate it all." --Rodolfo Martinez "A vast, cyclical filigree . . . Gorodischer reaches much farther than the common run of stories about huge empires, maybe because she wasn''t interested in them to begin with, and enters the realm of fable, legend, and allegory." --Luis G. Prado,Gigamesh, Barcelona… (more)
Member:Halabi
Title:Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was
Authors:Angélica Gorodischer
Other authors:Ursula K. LeGuin (Translator)
Info:Small Beer Press (2003), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 246 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
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Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was by Angélica Gorodischer

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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Dejé de leer este libro porque de repente fue muy racista. ( )
  dreamweaversunited | Apr 27, 2020 |
A collection of short stories by Argentinian writer Angélica Gorodischer, translated into English by Ursula K LeGuin. The stories are all set in the same world, written as stories being told by storytellers about the history of a vast and ancient empire. It's fantasy-ish in tone, but there aren't many particularly fantastical elements. A lot of the stories are about various Emperors and Empresses and their lives, but my favourite was the history of a city, starting from its founding and covering its changing role within the empire (a stop on the way to a port, a spa town, a centre of religion, the capital city) over many generations. I enjoyed this collection a great deal. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
This is such a strange and fabulous book. All of the stories on their own could have been full length novels, but instead you get this overall feeling of overhearing stories at different firesides or inns or dinner tables about the Empire and the kaleidoscope effect is generally pleasing. My only critique is that it is slowish to start. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Angelica Gorodischer is an Argentinean writer who has won numerous awards. This is the first of her nineteen books to be translated into English, and it’s a doozy. It’s a collection of tales from a long-ago empire that resonate with Gorodischer’s own experiences under a brutal government in the 70’s and early 80’s. The book is translated by Ursula K. LeGuin, and she seems a perfect fit, capturing Gorodischer’s dreamlike prose in all its power. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Ursula Le Guin's translation of this may have been very accurate but I don't feel it let much flavour of the original come through. It read just as though the story had always been written in English, and a generic pseudo-medieval fantasy English at that.

On the other hand it was hard to get from the story more of a sense of the eponymous Empire than "generic pseudo-medieval fantasyland" either. The story (or stories: the conceit is that a marketplace storyteller is recounting all these forgotten tales to a respectful audience) spans not only centuries but countless aeons, but there's no sense either of continuity or development from tale to tale.

Maybe it's a mistake for me to be trying to find any. It's more of a patchwork than a tapestry, with the common thread being the focus on the throne itself: how the emperors and empresses - noble, ambitious, wise, paranoid, pragmatic, or weak - shape the country for good and ill, and yet how easily it can all be forgotten. How much of it is for the joy of creating a fictional empire and how much is to make political statements I can't tell, but "Magareta’Acher" makes an appearance, for the most obvious, and there are almost certainly a great many references that I don't have the background to even recognise. Each tale by itself is an enjoyable read, and there's a lot beneath the surface for anyone who might choose to delve deeper. ( )
1 vote zeborah | Feb 15, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Angélica Gorodischerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Calero, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olbinski, RafalCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
s.BENešCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Will, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 theNew 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 welcomeKalpa 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). Praise for the Spanish-language editions ofKalpa Imperial: "Angélica Gorodischer, both from without and within the novel, accomplishes the indispensable function Salman Rushdie says the storyteller must have: not to let the old tales die out; to constantly renew them. And she well knows, as does that one who met the Great Empress, that storytellers are nothing more and nothing less than free men and women. And even though their freedom might be dangerous, they have to get the total attention of their listeners and, therefore, put the proper value on the art of storytelling, an art that usually gets in the way of those who foster a forceful oblivion and prevent the winds of change." --Carmen Perilli,La Gaceta, Tucuman "At a time when books are conceived and published to be read quickly, with divided attention in the din of the subway or the car, this novel is to be tasted with relish, in peace, in moderation, chewing slowly each and every one of the stories that make it up, and digesting it equally slowly so as to properly assimilate it all." --Rodolfo Martinez "A vast, cyclical filigree . . . Gorodischer reaches much farther than the common run of stories about huge empires, maybe because she wasn''t interested in them to begin with, and enters the realm of fable, legend, and allegory." --Luis G. Prado,Gigamesh, Barcelona

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Kalpa Imperial 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 Kalpa Imperial is much more than a simple political allegory or fable. It is also a celebration of the power of storytelling. Gorodischer and acclaimed writer Ursula K. Le Guin, who has translated Kalpa Imperial, 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 Ursula K. Le Guin.
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