By Ben Fountain
The well-intentioned protagonists of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara are stuck -- to either disastrous and hilarious impact -- within the maelstrom of political and social upheaval surrounding them. In "Near-Extinct Birds of the vital Cordillera," an ornithologist being held hostage within the Colombian rain wooded area reveals that he respects his captors for his or her dedication to a reason, till he realizes that the Revolution seems much like giant enterprise. In "The stable Ones Are Already Taken," the spouse of a different Forces officer battles a Haitian voodoo goddess with whom her husband is sporting on a not-entirely-spiritual dating. And in "The Lion's Mouth," a dissatisfied relief employee makes a Faustian discount to turn into a diamond smuggler for the larger strong. With masterful pacing and a strong feel of the absurd, each one tale in Brief Encounters with Che Guevara is a self-contained experience, steeped within the heady mixture of tragedy and possibility, pleasure and desire, that characterizes international locations in transition.
Through Fountain's rounded and novelistic prose, those clever and keenly saw tales are painted in provocative and colourful aspect throughout a world canvas. Brief Encounters with Che Guevara marks the arriving of a notable and resonant new voice that speaks adeptly to the intimate connection among the international, the primary, and the inescapably human.
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Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories by Ben Fountain