Tuesday, July 15, 2008
VERMEER'S MILKMAID by Manuel Rivas is Highly Recommended by Library Journal
The new collection of stories by Manuel Rivas, Vermeer's Milkmaid, is reviewed in Library Journal: "Rivas (b. 1957), who writes in the ancient Galician language of northwestern Spain, infuses both his sentences and his subject matter with his own natural poetry. The title piece, taken from a 1660 painting by Vermeer possessing a mysterious quality of luminosity, develops the similarity between its subject and the author's own mother, also a milkmaid, who subsequently has the opportunity to react when told of the painting. Translator Dunne is Irish, as is the setting for the final story of the collection, "The Coming of Wisdom with Time." Three of the stories previously rendered by another translator (Margaret Jull Costa) were combined to make José Luis Cuerda's spectacular movie, "Butterfly's Tongue," in 1999. These three stories explore a special bond between a boy and his teacher at the onset of the Spanish civil war and show how their idyllic year together ends as the Spanish Republic ends, with pain, grief, and shame. Rivas invokes folklore, fantasy, and psychology to create his 16 miniature dramas, which are highly recommended."