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"The Old Man Who Read Love Stories" by Luis Sepulveda

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Perhaps because he sees so little love in his life, an older man in a village in the Ecuadorian rain forest insatiably reads stories about it. Sepulveda sets up his protaganist as an isolated man, whose cleverness and wisdom separate him from even the folks in his native village. So, this man's true worth is even more unknown to an interloping Gringo, whom the man does not want to fight, but must nonetheless.
In fact, the old man is forced through a strange circumstance to do something utterly distasteful to him - something injurious to the natural fauna of his land.

Thematically, we have encroaching development, clash of culture (even between generations within the small village), and the coarseness that governs so much of modern interaction.

"The Old Man who Read Love Stories" gives us the loneliness of a man who dreams of love. This book has a good translation (don't have the name, sorry), and gives us a glimpse of an unusual milieu, and lessons of interactions that arise there. I stop short of giving a ringing endorsement, but do not regret having read it.
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