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Black Water: The Book of Fantastic…
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Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature

by Alberto Manguel (Editor)

Other authors: Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Contributor), Hans Christian Andersen (Contributor), Marcel Aymé (Contributor), Max Beerbohm (Contributor), Hilaire Belloc (Contributor)65 more, Stephen Vincent Benét (Contributor), Adolfo Bioy Casares (Contributor), Léon Bloy (Contributor), Jorge Luis Borges (Contributor), Ray Bradbury (Contributor), Italo Calvino (Contributor), Jean Cocteau (Contributor), John Collier (Contributor), Alex Comfort (Contributor), Julio Cortázar (Contributor), Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Contributor), Walter de la Mare (Contributor), André Pieyre de Mandiargues (Contributor), Marco Denevi (Contributor), Charles Dickens (Contributor), Isak Dinesen (Contributor), Daphne du Maurier (Contributor), Lord Dunsany (Contributor), Howard Fast (Contributor), E. M. Forster (Contributor), David Garnett (Contributor), Joanne Greenburg (Contributor), Graham Greene (Contributor), L. P. Hartley (Contributor), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Contributor), Lafcadio Hearn (Contributor), O. Henry (Contributor), Hermann Hesse (Contributor), Robert S. Hichens (Contributor), George Hitchcock (Contributor), I. A. Ireland (Contributor), W. W. Jacobs (Contributor), Henry James (Contributor), M. R. James (Contributor), Franz Kafka (Contributor), Francis Henry King (Contributor), Rudyard Kipling (Contributor), Manuel Mujica Lainez (Contributor), D. H. Lawrence (Contributor), Ursula K. LeGuin (Contributor), Juan Manuel (Contributor), W. Somerset Maugham (Contributor), Brian Moore (Contributor), Vladimir Nabokov (Contributor), Flann O'Brien (Contributor), Silvina Ocampo (Contributor), Cynthia Ozick (Contributor), Giovanni Papini (Contributor), Virgilio Piñera (Contributor), Edgar Allan Poe (Contributor), J. B. Priestley (Contributor), Alexander Pushkin (Contributor), Horacio Quiroga (Contributor), João Guimarães Rosa (Contributor), Saki (Contributor), Bruno Schulz (Contributor), Robert Louis Stevenson (Contributor), Junichiro Tanizaki (Contributor), Jules Verne (Contributor), H. G. Wells (Contributor), Edith Wharton (Contributor), Oscar Wilde (Contributor), Charles Williams (Contributor), Tennessee Williams (Contributor), Marguerite Yourcenar (Contributor)

Series: Black Water (1)

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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A wonderful collection—uneven as they usually are, but the high notes are unforgettable. Hunt it down if you like hard-to-classify, weird fiction. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |


Alberto Manguel - Argentine-Canadian anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist and editor. He is surely among the very greatest readers of books and lovers of world literature. Black Water collects 72 tales of the fantastic by such authors as Jean Cocteau, Marguerite Yourcenar, Herman Hesse, Italo Calvino, Vladimir Nabokov, H.G.Wells, Franz Kafka and Ursula K. LeGuin. There is one story I particularly enjoy from a less well known author from Argentina, Manuel Mujica Láinez, and it is this story I have made the focus of my review. Hope you enjoy and take the opportunity to explore this outstanding collection on your own.

IMPORTANCE by Manuel Mujica Láinez
Great Lady: Mrs. Hermosilla del Fresno, widow, lady of very great importance, lives in her huge mansion with her many servants and presides over all the city’s important charities and parties. Great writers such as de Maupassant and Balzac have always understood one of the perfect ingredients for a good short story is a character puffed up by all their wealth and social standing. Manuel Mujica Láinez was familiar with the precariousness of family wealth: born into a distinguished and wealthy lineage of Buenos Aries nobility, by the time the family line reached his parents and Manuel, the vast majority of wealth vanished. Manuel had to earn a living as a literary critic and art critic for the city’s leading newspaper.

Chink in the Armor: Unfortunately, there is one small fact diminishing the Señora’s splendid importance: her family background is somewhat less than splendid. That’s right, sad but true, she comes from a dubious bloodline. Also unfortunate for Señora, certain obscure relatives occasionally have the temerity to pop up at the wrong time forcing Señora to cloak their kinship with a wry smile and arched glance “while her vanity spits and snarls inside her like a crouching tiger.” Ah, a second valuable ingredient for a good short story featuring a puffed up character: a hidden flaw.

Piety Counts: Señora believes in God as well as in heaven and hell. And equally notable, Señora also firmly believes, a belief bolstered by her assistants and employees, that she has unquestionably earned her rightful place in Paradise. Such a worldview as the Señora’s has always amused me, a worldview shared by fundamentalists of whatever stripe I’ve encountered: there’s a heaven and hell and I’m the one going to heaven. All the rest of you people who don’t believe exactly what I believe will go to hell – good riddance!

The Fantastic: As it turns out, there’s an excellent reason why this story is included in Alberto Manguel's anthology of fantastic literature: one morning Señora wakes up only to discover she is dead. That’s right, all her very, very important servants gather in her room, wailing and crying over the fact that their beloved Señora has died. Of course, Señora is frightened and a tad astonished at this event since deep down Señora really and truly believed she is immortal. Let’s face it, all of us are not that different from Señora – a characteristically human way of viewing life: suffering, old age and especially death are things that happen to other people, certainly not me since, well . . . life is all about me!

The Unexpected: After one hour, two hours, three hours, Señora thinks enough is enough, where are heavenly angels to carry me off to paradise? Instead, exactly the beings she does not want to appear, appear: her dubious cousins, nephews and, damn, her most dreaded half-sister show up in open view of those upper crust ladies Señora has always tried her hardest to impress. Oh, my, what a bummer for someone who has spent their life molding an identity around wealth, status and bloodline. Sidebar: In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition with their Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead), the biggest mistake we can make at the time of our death is to cling to our past life and relationships rather than letting go.

Bad News: Señora's upper crust lady friends actually exchange pleasantries with her lowly relatives rather than paying any attention to her. What is happening here? Señora grows impatient, life is not cooperating with her wishes and desires. On top of this, after six distasteful, highly unpleasant days, Señora’s lawyer shows up on the scene and, contrary to her interests in perpetuating her good name by leaving her wealth to her chosen charities as clearly expressed in her will, the nefarious rascal denies there is any such will and boldly states all her monies will be distributed to her relatives. Ahhh! Señora wants to raise her arms to heaven and shout out the truth, but, alas, inhabiting a ghostly, otherworldly space, she cannot move her limbs or open her mouth.

Even Worse: The bad news continues, her cousins, nephews and half-sister move into her house, rummage through her drawers and closets, put on her clothes and jewelry, have lewd sex on her bed right next to her ghostly body, speak of her as prudish, vain and haughty. Here is how Manuel Mujica Láinez ends his tale: “Until, gradually, Mrs Hermosilla del Fresno (who cannot even escape into the haven of madness) understands, with surprise and despair, the she will never be taken away, not even to be guided to an unexpected Hell. Because this, however strange, absurd, unconventional and antitheological it might seem, this is Hell.”

Manuel Mujica Láinez (1910-1984) - Argentine novelist, essayist, literary critic and art critic ( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
So enjoyable that I regret that I've come to the end. I really recommend it if you can find a copy. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
This is a fantastic and unusual collection of disturbing stories that includes a lot of pieces and authors you may not be familiar with or at least familiar with them writing this type of story. Highly recommended as an alternate to those anthologies that publish the same things over and over again. ( )
  datrappert | Nov 15, 2009 |
As usual, the work of Alberto Manguel is impeccable. This anthology contains short stories by the biggest names in the field of fantasy, as well as lesser known ones that most Anglo-Saxon anthologies forget about, i.e. Latin American and some foreign writers. You'll be certain to find your pick of interesting stories, and they will give you an interest in the writers' works. Recommended for bibliophiles and fantasy geeks, these stories are certain not to leave anyone indifferent. ( )
1 vote soniaandree | Mar 6, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manguel, AlbertoEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Akutagawa, RyunosukeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersen, Hans ChristianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aymé, MarcelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beerbohm, MaxContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Belloc, HilaireContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benét, Stephen VincentContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bioy Casares, AdolfoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloy, LéonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borges, Jorge LuisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Calvino, ItaloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cocteau, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collier, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Comfort, AlexContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cortázar, JulioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Alarcón, Pedro AntonioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de la Mare, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Mandiargues, André PieyreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Denevi, MarcoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickens, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dinesen, IsakContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
du Maurier, DaphneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dunsany, LordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fast, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forster, E. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garnett, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenburg, JoanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greene, GrahamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hartley, L. P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawthorne, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hearn, LafcadioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henry, O.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hesse, HermannContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hichens, Robert S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hitchcock, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ireland, I. A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobs, W. W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, HenryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, M. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kafka, FranzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, Francis HenryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kipling, RudyardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lainez, Manuel MujicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, D. H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
LeGuin, Ursula K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manuel, JuanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, FlannContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ocampo, SilvinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ozick, CynthiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Papini, GiovanniContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Piñera, VirgilioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Poe, Edgar AllanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Priestley, J. B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pushkin, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quiroga, HoracioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosa, João GuimarãesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
SakiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schulz, BrunoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, Robert LouisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tanizaki, JunichiroContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verne, JulesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wells, H. G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wharton, EdithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilde, OscarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TennesseeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yourcenar, MargueriteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

Contains

Lady Into Fox by David Garnett

The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin

The Story Of A Panic by E. M. Forster

In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka

Seaton's Aunt by Walter De la Mare

The Friends of the Friends by Henry James

The traveling companion (Tales of Hans Christian Andersen) by Hans Christian Andersen

The State of Grace by Marcel Aymé

An Invitation To The Hunt by George Hitchcock

The Dream by O. Henry

From The 'American Notebooks' by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Curfew Tolls by Stephen Vincent Benét

Casa tomada by Julio Cortázar

How Love Came to Professor Guildea (Dodo Press) by Robert Hichens

Climax For A Ghost Story by I A Ireland

The Mysteries Of The Joy Rio by Tennessee Williams

Pomegranate Seed by Edith Wharton

Venetian Masks by Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Wish House [short story] by Rudyard Kipling

The Playground by Ray Bradbury

Importance by Manuel Mujica Lainez

Enoch Soames: a memory of the eighteen-nineties by Max Beerbohm

A Visitor From Down Under by L. P. Hartley

Laura by Saki

An Injustice Revealed by Anonymous

A Little Place Off The Edgware Road by Graham Greene

From 'A School Story' by M. R. James

The Signalman: A Ghost Story by Charles Dickens

La Mujer Alta by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón

A Scent Of Mimosa by Francis King

Death And The Gardener by Jean Cocteau

Lord Mountdrago by W. Somerset Maugham

The Sick Gentleman's Last Visit by Giovanni Papini

Insomnia by Virgilio Piñera

The Storm by Jules Verne

A Dream (from The Arabian Nights Entertainments) by Anonymous

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe

Split Second by Daphne Du Maurier

August 25, 1983 by Jorge Luis Borges

How Wang-Fo Was Saved by Marguerite Yourcenar

From 'Peter And Rosa' by Isak Dinesen

The Tattooer by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

John Duffy's Brother by Flann O'Brien

Father's Last Escape by Bruno Schulz

A Man By The Name Of Ziegler by Hermann Hesse

The Argentine Ant by Italo Calvino

The Lady on the Grey by John Collier

Of A Promise Kept by Lafcadio Hearn

The Wizard Postponed by Juan Manuel

The Monkey's Paw [short story] by W. W. Jacobs

The Rocking-Horse Winner {short story} by D. H. Lawrence

Certain Distant Suns by Joanne Greenburg

Primeiras Estorias by João Guimarães Rosa

Home by Hilaire Belloc

The Door in the Wall and Other Stories by H. G. Wells

The Friends by Silvina Ocampo

Et in Sempiternum Pereant by Charles Williams

The Captives Of Longjumeau by Léon Bloy

The Visit To The Museum by Vladimir Nabokov

'Autumn Mountain' by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

The Sight by Brian Moore

Clorinda by André Pieyre de Mandiargues

The Fisherman and his Soul by Oscar Wilde

The Bureau d'Echanges de Maux [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas {short story} by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Dog In Durer's Etching 'The Knight, Death And The Devil' by Marco Denevi

The Large Ant by Howard Fast

The Lemmings by Alex Comfort

The Grey Ones by J. B. Priestley

The Feather Pillow by Horacio Quiroga

The Pagan Rabbi {short story} by Cynthia Ozick

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330281410, Paperback)

Manguel explains in his introduction that "fantastic literature" makes use of the everyday world as a facade through which the undefinable appears, hinting at the half-forgotten dreams of the imagination. This collection includes material from Kafka, Henry James, E.M. Forster and Herman Hesse.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

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