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You Dreamed of Empires: A Novel by Alvaro…
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You Dreamed of Empires: A Novel (original 2022; edition 2024)

by Alvaro Enrigue (Author)

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1444193,393 (3.63)7
"From a visionary Mexican author, a hallucinatory, revelatory, colonial revenge story that reimagines the fall of Tenochtitlan. One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés entered the city of Tenochtitlan - today's Mexico City. Later that day, he would meet the emperor Moctezuma in a collision of two worlds, two empires, two languages, two possible futures. Cortés was accompanied by his nine captains, his troops, and his two translators: Friar Aguilar, a taciturn, former slave, and Malinalli, a strategic, former princess. Greeted at a ceremonial welcome meal by the steely princess Atotoxli, sister and wife of Moctezuma, the Spanish nearly bungle their entrance to the city. As they await their meeting with Moctezuma - who is at a political, spiritual, and physical crossroads, and relies on hallucinogens to get himself through the day and in quest for any kind of answer from the gods - the Spanish are ensconced in the labyrinthine palace. Soon, one of Cortés's captains, Jazmín Caldera, overwhelmed by the grandeur of the city, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed into the city, and wonders at the risks of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire. You Dreamed of Empires brings to life Tenochtitlan at its height, and reimagines its destiny. The incomparably original Alvaro Enrigue sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, a restitutive, fantastical counter-attack, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream"--… (more)
Member:livkstone
Title:You Dreamed of Empires: A Novel
Authors:Alvaro Enrigue (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2024), 240 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Ebook

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You Dreamed of Empires: A Novel by Álvaro Enrigue (2022)

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
So, Cortez is in Tenochtitlan, and there's a whole lotta colonialism going on. But things are also super trippy and expansive. Cities are floating, hallucinogenic mushrooms are in the water supply, and Monteczuma is absolutely rockin' it. I normally have a somewhat difficult time reading books without quotation marks for dialogue and You Dreamed of Empires was no exception to this, but GOD DANG this book rules so much. ( )
  Amateria66 | May 24, 2024 |
This would be a choice for the end of the year once it’s out in paperback. I heard the interview with the author on an NPR showthat was followed by discussion . Historical novel set in 1519 in what is now Mexico City. The clash between Aztec civilization and the Spanish conquistadors is richly detailed narrative by an award winning Mexican writer. 240 pp. Luba
  TNbookgroup | Feb 27, 2024 |
As a lover of historical fiction to was anxious to read this especially since it told a story much different than much of the European history. I can say I was easily pulled into the story in spite of the many many strange words and especially names. The author does a great job of imagining the setting - the colors, the smells (many and mostly offensive), the sounds.

The story is told from the viewpoint of a member of Cortez' army - a man who has helped finance the expedition first to explore and then later to colonize. There are two interpreters: a former priest and a young woman who becomes Cortez whore (maybe the word). Then it gets just plain weird - all of a sudden the reader comes across a modern day British singer and his band TRex (which I had to look up as I've never heard of both). There is humor, there is some history, but then I realize I'm reading some sort of satire. Unusual to say the least. ( )
  maryreinert | Jan 27, 2024 |
I've been on a lovely roll with books lately, and Álvaro Enrigue's You Dreamed of Empires is keeping my winning streak going. You Dreamed of Empires is an imaginative recounting of single day: the day when Hernán Cortés met Moctezuma. Since actual accounts of that event are pretty much nonexistent, Enrigue gives himself permission to create his own truth about that day. This works well in two ways.

First, it means readers, even if they know the "standard" story of Moctezuma and Cortés, don't have any sort of certainty. Enrigue will take his tale in the directions he chooses, which means a) this book continually surprises and b) it offers an interesting thought experiment of ways this meeting might have played out. Second, as the novel progresses, the narrator becomes more active. What begins as fairly straightforward story becomes richer as it probes the various chains of action that could have been possible.

You Dreamed of Empires was written in Spanish, and I so wish my Spanish were good enough that I could read it in the original. I kept experiencing tantalizing glimpses of what the Spanish must have read like. The good news is that the translation is brilliant. This is a book that makes use of voice, and Natasha Wimmer lets that voice expand in wonderful ways as the book progresses.

You dreamed of empires can be a quick read, but move through it slowly enough to let yourself savor it. Enrigue makes use of a good bit of Aztec vocabulary, which can make some monolingual readers feel a bit panicky. Read the introduction to the book (presented as a letter from Enrigue to Wimmer). Pay attention to both suggestions about pronunciation and also to Enrigue's notes on why understanding all this vocabulary does/doesn't matter. I tend to read at speaking speed, saying the words aloud in my head as I move along. This means I'm limited in terms of reading speed, but it has the benefit of letting me "hear" as my eyes move across the page. Finding my ways to pronounce those words (I did try my best to follow Engrigue's suggestions) and encountering them over and over again made the book seem accessible in a way it otherwise might not have.

Whether you buy it from your local independent bookseller or request it from your local library, this is a book you should keep an eye out for. I don't know quite how to say this, but I'll give it a go: beyond the story, the act of reading this text is transformative in ways that can carry over into the reader's viewing of the world.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss; the opinions are my own. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Jan 27, 2024 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Álvaro Enrigueprimary authorall editionscalculated
Regling, CarstenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wimmer, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"From a visionary Mexican author, a hallucinatory, revelatory, colonial revenge story that reimagines the fall of Tenochtitlan. One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés entered the city of Tenochtitlan - today's Mexico City. Later that day, he would meet the emperor Moctezuma in a collision of two worlds, two empires, two languages, two possible futures. Cortés was accompanied by his nine captains, his troops, and his two translators: Friar Aguilar, a taciturn, former slave, and Malinalli, a strategic, former princess. Greeted at a ceremonial welcome meal by the steely princess Atotoxli, sister and wife of Moctezuma, the Spanish nearly bungle their entrance to the city. As they await their meeting with Moctezuma - who is at a political, spiritual, and physical crossroads, and relies on hallucinogens to get himself through the day and in quest for any kind of answer from the gods - the Spanish are ensconced in the labyrinthine palace. Soon, one of Cortés's captains, Jazmín Caldera, overwhelmed by the grandeur of the city, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed into the city, and wonders at the risks of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire. You Dreamed of Empires brings to life Tenochtitlan at its height, and reimagines its destiny. The incomparably original Alvaro Enrigue sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, a restitutive, fantastical counter-attack, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream"--

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