counter Tales from the Town of Widows: And Chronicles from the Land of Men - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Tales from the Town of Widows: And Chronicles from the Land of Men

Availability: Ready to download

A beautifully crafted story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war. The women of Mariquita, made widows when their men are swept away by the army or rebel forces, learn hard lessons about love and survival. Forced to grow in extraordinary ways, they challenge the tenets o A beautifully crafted story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war. The women of Mariquita, made widows when their men are swept away by the army or rebel forces, learn hard lessons about love and survival. Forced to grow in extraordinary ways, they challenge the tenets of male-dominated society, discover power with all its pitfalls and strive to create an entirely newsocial order, an all-female utopia. Their narrative is punctuated by short vignettes of the individual travails of the men and boys -- left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, national army officers and civilians -- caught amidst these hellish forces. The author, lived in his native Colombia until he was 18 and this pitch-perfect book brings an entirely fresh, startling perspective to Colombia's catastrophe where the longest and bloodiest civil war in this hemisphere has raged for 40 years.


Compare

A beautifully crafted story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war. The women of Mariquita, made widows when their men are swept away by the army or rebel forces, learn hard lessons about love and survival. Forced to grow in extraordinary ways, they challenge the tenets o A beautifully crafted story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war. The women of Mariquita, made widows when their men are swept away by the army or rebel forces, learn hard lessons about love and survival. Forced to grow in extraordinary ways, they challenge the tenets of male-dominated society, discover power with all its pitfalls and strive to create an entirely newsocial order, an all-female utopia. Their narrative is punctuated by short vignettes of the individual travails of the men and boys -- left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, national army officers and civilians -- caught amidst these hellish forces. The author, lived in his native Colombia until he was 18 and this pitch-perfect book brings an entirely fresh, startling perspective to Colombia's catastrophe where the longest and bloodiest civil war in this hemisphere has raged for 40 years.

30 review for Tales from the Town of Widows: And Chronicles from the Land of Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Judging from the title of this book, I was expecting a story about empowered women moving forward after their men have been taken. However, this book was just a stereotype of anything female. Women are whores. Women are mothers. Women are obsessed with penises. And if they can't have that then they might as well be lesbians...etc,. The experiences and "tales" of the women were lacking in originality and in perspective. this book was a waste of time. I do not recommend it. Judging from the title of this book, I was expecting a story about empowered women moving forward after their men have been taken. However, this book was just a stereotype of anything female. Women are whores. Women are mothers. Women are obsessed with penises. And if they can't have that then they might as well be lesbians...etc,. The experiences and "tales" of the women were lacking in originality and in perspective. this book was a waste of time. I do not recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    When guerillas come to the small Colombian village of Mariquita and take away all the men, the women are left with a withered old priest, a young boy who's mother disguised him in one of his sister's dresses, and later, a young gay man. Clueless at first as to how to proceed, the women finally organize themselves under the guidance of the police chief's wife who declares herself magistrate, and the new schoolteacher who must earn the trust of the villagers. The loss of their husbands, boyfriends When guerillas come to the small Colombian village of Mariquita and take away all the men, the women are left with a withered old priest, a young boy who's mother disguised him in one of his sister's dresses, and later, a young gay man. Clueless at first as to how to proceed, the women finally organize themselves under the guidance of the police chief's wife who declares herself magistrate, and the new schoolteacher who must earn the trust of the villagers. The loss of their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and sons brings a range of reactions, from grief, to relief, and all the characters are changed by the experience. Some of them find love in unexpected places. Funny, sweet, moving, and highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    I must say this book has become one of my favorites and will definitely have a place on my bookshelf when I start my library. A tale of a small Colombian village that is touched by the on going civil war that has wreaked havoc over the land for 4 decades. Its a funny, magical, sorrowful and empowering tale of the women who are left behind after their men are either killed or kidnapped by the guerillas. A definite must read for those who love reality tinged with fantasy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    LisaRose

    This is a story about finding one's identity and humanity. Just what can we endure when all that we know, all that has been culturally engrained, has been brutally ripped from us? That's one of the questions that Tales seems to answer. James Canon's style is elegant and lyrical, yet he never allows his reader to forget there is a war going on. And while the war is the backdrop for the overall plot development, it's the small battles, told in the tales of the widows and the chronicles of the men, This is a story about finding one's identity and humanity. Just what can we endure when all that we know, all that has been culturally engrained, has been brutally ripped from us? That's one of the questions that Tales seems to answer. James Canon's style is elegant and lyrical, yet he never allows his reader to forget there is a war going on. And while the war is the backdrop for the overall plot development, it's the small battles, told in the tales of the widows and the chronicles of the men, the victories and defeats, about which we truly care. Canon created characters of depth, who withstood cruelty with dignity, and who learned to control their destinies with grace and beauty. A lovely, triumphant novel. It gives me hope.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rna Mohamed

    I really wanted to like this book as I was captured by the idea but maybe It is just because of my expectations However I didn’t like it

  6. 4 out of 5

    sssnoo reads

    Tales from the Town of Widows is a remarkable, though provoking novel. Some literary experts call it magical realism a la Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I challenge that. I don’t particularly like magical realism, or much of that genre anyway. To me it evokes dream-like hallucinatory scenes or perturbations on reality that I just find confusing. To the contrary, Tales... reads more like a fantasy dystopian novel set in an era of destructive civil war. The tales describe the process of coping with t Tales from the Town of Widows is a remarkable, though provoking novel. Some literary experts call it magical realism a la Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I challenge that. I don’t particularly like magical realism, or much of that genre anyway. To me it evokes dream-like hallucinatory scenes or perturbations on reality that I just find confusing. To the contrary, Tales... reads more like a fantasy dystopian novel set in an era of destructive civil war. The tales describe the process of coping with the post apocalyptic world. In this case it is one town not a planet, but the effect of the guerrillas taking all men is apocalyptic to the survivors, all the same. I was enthralled by the book’s structure, as well. Each chapter has a distinct fable or story to tell and the point of view changes. In between each chapter is a short snippet from the male perspective, either guerrilla, paramilitary or national army - some male perspective. This added complexity and interest to the novel and allowed the reader to stay connected in a detached way to the outside world beyond Mariquita. I thought this structure was perfect. The book I have has a better than usual list of questions at the back. I strongly recommend clubs consider this book. A great story, originial,lots of thought provoking ideas to discuss and a theme to plan a dinner party around. Perfect book club fare. This book will leave a reader thinking about gender, political and social structures, the roles people play, wars, religion, love, grief and far more. There is a lot in this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Cahuasqui

    Read this first in college as an undergrad for my Latino literature class, and it really holds up. There's so many layers happening throughout the tales that form a tapestry of a small town left in pieces by the fighting paramilitaries and guerrillas. Sometimes the stories follow the characters outside of Mariquita, but they always come back to the heart of the town. The language is beautiful and such an excellent example of magical realism. The biting satire can't help but make you raise an eye Read this first in college as an undergrad for my Latino literature class, and it really holds up. There's so many layers happening throughout the tales that form a tapestry of a small town left in pieces by the fighting paramilitaries and guerrillas. Sometimes the stories follow the characters outside of Mariquita, but they always come back to the heart of the town. The language is beautiful and such an excellent example of magical realism. The biting satire can't help but make you raise an eyebrow and chuckle at how clever the author was to write this novel. It's hard to put into words how good this book is, but I got so much more from it reading it 8 years later than I did as an undergrad with much less knowledge of the world and literature overall. I highly recommend this as a read for anyone who wants more Latinx representation (specifically Colombian) in their reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Esraa Mahmoud

    The worst book I have ever read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    wally

    Tales from the Town of Widows James Canon imaginative tale. i enjoyed the idea of the interludes, the idea of using those as a tool to tell the story. i liked the use of time, the humorous telling. i've often wondered why man's proclivity for evil produces an impiety for the image of our Creator while simultaneously creating a reverence for all that is perverse in man. this story explores that idea...or so it goes for me. time and locale Columbia, South America Pope John Paul II is in Rom Tales from the Town of Widows James Canon imaginative tale. i enjoyed the idea of the interludes, the idea of using those as a tool to tell the story. i liked the use of time, the humorous telling. i've often wondered why man's proclivity for evil produces an impiety for the image of our Creator while simultaneously creating a reverence for all that is perverse in man. this story explores that idea...or so it goes for me. time and locale Columbia, South America Pope John Paul II is in Rome Sorry: all of the accent marks are missing, but maybe the meaning is still clear? Mariquita, November 15, 1992 -The Day the Men Disappeared Mariquita, October 29, 1993--The Magistrate who Didn’t know how to Rule Mariquita, May 12, 1994-The Rise & Fall of Casa de Emilia Mariquita, February 11, 1995-The Teacher who refused to Teach History Mariquita, August 1, 1996-The Widow who found a Fortune under her Bed Mariquita, December 7, 1997-The Other Widow Mariquita, April 22, 1998--The Virgin Sacrifice Mariquita, June 20, 1999-The Plagues of Mariquita Mariquita, June 23, 2000-The Day Time Stopped Mariquita, date unknown--The Day Time Became Female Mariquita, Rosalba 5, Ladder 2000-The Cow that Saved a Village New Mariquita, Ubaldina 1, Ladder 1998-Widows in Love Ubaldina, 1st Sun of Transition Ubaldina, 2nd Sun of Transition Ubaldina, 3rd Sun of Transition Ubaldina, 4th Sun of Transition New Mariquita, Francisca 20, Ladder 1996--The Curious Gringo New Mariquita, Eloisa 13, Ladder 1993-The Men Who asked for a Second Chance settings The church The widow Morales’s house A tall mango tree under which they play Parcheesi El Rincon de Gardel, the town’s bar Barbaria Gomez, a small bldg across from the municipal bldg The house w/the green façade located in the middle of the block La Casa de Emilia, the town’s brothel --Ibague, the closest city --Fresno, a town 60 miles west of Mariquita --the town of Honda by the Magdelena River, Rosalba’s hometown --the town of Dorada, 120 miles to the north Cafeteria d’Villegas --the towns of Lerida and Libano “the magical whorehouse” San Gil, a village Don Maximiliano’s Street Yarima, Don M’s largest coffee farm Cabrera, a smaller coffee farm Casa Perdomo, a monument to poor taste and lack of imagination Taribo…a once upon a time city/Mariquita The village of Villaharmosa Newer Mariquita the cast in the order they appear or are mentioned, major & minor, excluding most animals save dogs & notable cats…this list does not include characters in the “interludes“ Dona Victoria viuda de Morales, the widow, first arrived in Mariquita in 1970, w/her husband and two older daughters.our hero in chapter one, 1992 …el padre Rafael, who is 50-yr-old in chapter 5 our hero in chapter 7 Rafael Bueno …the street vendor …the widow Morales’s 3 daughters & only son, later, when the 3-dozen beggars enter town, we learn names: Gardenia, 27 & Magnolia, 22, the son, Julio Cesar. Orquidea, the oldest sister, at 31...and still later, we learn that the beggars are guerrillas number 40 Jacinto Jimenez, the town’s magistrate Napoleon Patino, the police sergeant Don Marco Tulio Cifuentes, the tallest man in Mariquita and owner of El Rincon de Gardel & two drunks that he carries out one in each hand Don Vincente Gomez, Mariquita’s barber Francisca, his wife our hero in chapter 5, 46-yr-old Rosalba Patino, the police sergeant’s wife, chapter 2, our hero, 1993 Rosalba viuda de Patino, 46, becomes the town magistrate in 2 & afterward it was official w/the singing of the Columbian national anthem. Rosalba is also our hero in chapter 8 hero as in moving force or 1st to appear …a red-faced farmer and older women selling stuff, like bootleg cassettes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller All seven Restrepo brothers, soccer enthusiasts David Perez, the butcher’s grandson, who has the only ball …two old maids w/long hair Angel Alberto Tamaca, the schoolteacher Amorosa, the woman that he loves Dona Emilia and her last customers who she warns about their wives and one of the girls who is untidy. In chapter 3, Dona Emilia is our hero, 1994, age 72, having decided it was time to die. Emilia, named after Emilio Bocanegra, the 1st customer to come to the brothel after she was born Three dozen men in worn-out greenish uniforms …Rodolfo, a farm worker from Orquidea’s younger says, though he joined the 1st Marxist guerrillas and Orquidea has not had diarrhea since …the schoolteacher, two drunkards, an insomniac prostitute & 3 stray dogs …the magistrate’s wife Dr. Ramirez, the only doctor in town …the witch doctors, available for a second opinion …three suitors of Gardenia from nearby towns Angel Alberto Tamaca, the new recruit of the Marxist guerrillas, the 4th group the town has seen(86,88,90, 92), and Mariquita’s 23-yr-old schoolteacher, only son of a legendary rebel killed when Angel was only a few months old. Also called El Profe, El Loco, El Diablo, El Communista, & El Bomboncito,created what he called “The Moment of Truth” Cecilia Guaraya, Angel’s mother Don Misael Vidales, 2nd husband, a wise man, w/books, and Mariquita’s 1st teacher, & he calls his goiter Pepe, Five newborns christened after legendary Communist philosophers, rebels and places: Hochiminh Ospina, Che Lopez, Vietnam Calderon & Trotsky and Cuba Sanchez …two drunk old men Amorosa, a prostitute from La Casa de Emilia, who recently left Mariquita God and a group of saints Commander Pedro “Matamoros”…one of the rebels The wife of Don Marco Tulio Cifuentes, Eloisa, our hero chapter 12 Jacobo, the widow Morales’s husband…who could pass for Winston Churchill …a line of men and boys being taken away by the guerrillas Justina Perez gave her husband a set of dentures Ubaldina Restrepo gave her youngest son, Camp Elias Jr. her own rosary. Chapter 3, Ubaldina is the newly appointed police sergeant …(2)the rickety old man w/a rickety old truck ---collected the garbage, gone, like the town’s treasurer and town’s magistrate …the Cruzes’ house…deserted. …indifferent old women draped in black lace …young women shouting at intervals …half-naked children following them …three biblical-looking women wearing nightgowns and bearing large water jugs, the Morales sisters. …Mr. Governor, his council, the central gov’t, Mr. President, his congress Ubaldina viuda de Restrepo (noted earlier), ( shepherd ) and a flock of pigs, widow of Don Campo Elias Restrepo, the richest man in town, (along w/7 stepsons) Vaca, the cobbler’s widow. A big-eyed Indian who’s always chewing her cud Lucrecia Saavedra, the old seamstress 15 strangers in military uniforms, the oldest climbs onto the hood of the jeep, Abraham Magnolia Morales The widow of Jacinto Jimenez, the former magistrate, whose 18-yr-old son was taken away, w/her two daughters, left for Ibague, she married a butcher, left the keys w/Rosalba Rosalba’s mother, choked to death/fishbone, 4 younger brothers, her father remarried Dona Regina Several fishermen who courted Rosalba The many truck drivers who offered Rosalba a ride The Jaramillo widow, wearing a red dress while the whole town was in mourning, her husband 2 sons shot dead, Pablo, her eldest had gone to New York The Lord Himself …el padre Bartolome, 93-yr-old priest and the only 3 single men in town, Vincente Gomez won the coin toss, Romulo Villegas was next, and last Napoleon Patino Don Maximiliano Perdomo, a rich landlord, houses/coffee farms, Rosalba and Napoleon bought their house Rawboned dogs & cats, Perestroika, the Solorzano widow’s cow. Doctors in Fresno and Ibague A dozen women in black, a few naked, lice-ridden children w/snotty noses The twelve loving girls of Dona Emilia’s brothel, the finest and cleanest brothel for miles around Dona Emilia’s mother, a prostitute, gave birth to her there The owner of the brothel at the time, a spinster named Matlide Viviana the most articulate of the 12 loving girls La Gringa, another of the 12, named for her dyed yellow hair Negrita, yet another, who says that men are men no matter the class Zulia, still another A photographer from the town of Honda to take pictures of the girls for a promotional (anyone see the card-slappers on the strip?) Male relatives of the twelve loving girls, all of whom had been brutally raped at a young age by them 3 children borne to the twelve, left w/their mothers Various business owners that Dona Emilia & one girl meet on their promotional tours Jeeps full of men Marcela Lopez had been engaged to Jacinto Jimenez Jr. Pilar Villegas Louisa & Sandra Villegas A married barber named Valentin Cleotilde Guarnizo, our hero in chapter 4 67-yr-old spinster, & a licensed teacher (gaa! Even in Columbia they have licenses! And here I thought that was only for the land of the free, the home of the brave!) The boy Cleotilde hired to take her by mule to the closest town when her bus broke down A girl of 10, maybe 11, who opens the door to her Virgelina Saavedra who is #29 on the Procreation list in ‘98, when she is 14 Lucrecia viuda de Saavedra (mentioned earlier, too, the old seamstress) Fidel & Castro, the two cats An Indian woman who told Cleotilde of the arthritis pain-relief method Various boys and girls that Cleotilde meets, like Vietnam Calderon, also called EL Diablo Ceclia Guaraya the magistrate’s secretary Trotsky, mentioned earlier but he’s pals with Vietnam Milago, a young woman from the village of San Gil, her parents and brothers. A carpenter hired by the town barber to install a pine floor in the house of Francisca Gomez Senorita Eulalia Gomez, Vincente’s great-aunt, a wealthy spinster from Libano Javier, Vincente and Francisca’s son Policarpa Salavarrieta, heroine whose face is on the ten thousand banknotes Elvia viuda de Lopez & Erlinda viuda de Calderon, loyal friends of Francisca, known as “La Masatera” in the market where she sold a fermented maize drink, masato. The Marin widow Ibague’s most renowned hairstylist, nicknamed Sanson, along w/his assistants Don Jose Maria Olivares de Belalcazar, runs an etiquette course in Ibague Another woman, a chambermaid, with whom Francesca has sex & a mildly retarded girl she tried to do once A salesman from whom Francesca orders things A rickety man who delivers Francesca back to Mariquita Santiago Marin, the hero? Of chapter 6 Pablo Jamarillo , Santiago is waiting for, & the other hero The Virgin Mary (might have been appealed to, earlier, in Spanish) A jeep driver door knocker irate man Santiago’s two younger sisters & his mother Dr. Ramirez, the doctor who delivered Santiago & Pablo on the same night, different mothers. A body taken from the jeep, presumably Pablo Don Maximiliano Perdomo Dona Marina, an unfriendly midget in charge of worker housing A steward that Pablo followed Cigarrilla that Santiago followed P and S’s fathers, at another coffee farm Pacho, a short pudgy young man w/rosy cheeks, “kissing a praying--you know how fucking wrong that is? HA HA HA HA HA! A guy missing nearly all of his front teeth Nurse Ramirez Dona Caridad, Don M’s wife Senorita Lucia, 23 the Perdomo’s only daughte, from N.Y., college William, becomes engaged to Lucia, leaves/returns Two maids who join Pablo, Santiago under Lucia’s tutelage in the kitchen for 2 hours each evening Hochiminh Ospina, 14-yr-old altar boy Virgelina’s mother & father, as told by Lucrecia, her grandmother, Nohemi the mother Magnolia, Luisa, Cuba Sanchez (the girl Che Lopez hoped to win), Sandra, Marcela, Pilar, Virgelina, Orquidea, Patricia, Nubia, Violete, Amparo (Marin, Santiago‘s youngest sister), Luz, Elvira, Carmenza, Irma, Mercedes, Gardenia , Dora and many other young girls, widows and old maids of Mariquita Liboria, Vietnam’s grandmother Dr. Harry Walsh and the infant of the Zukashasu tribe, southern Africa, exterminated by the Shumitah tribe Vaca, Rosalba’s boarder chapter 10 The Ospinas, grinding maize Aracelly viuda de Marin Caturca, an only child of celebrated Indian chief…the father’s advisers Irma & Violeta Villegas The Other Widow…one of the…Santiago is meant Erlinda…new character? I dunno Gordon Smith, the American reporter,31 The boy Pito and his mule Pita Communist guerrilla defector An older neurotic pink-faced man Flor (formerly the Villegas widow) & her spouse Elvia (formerly the Lopez widow) Angel Alberto Tamarca, David Perez, Jacinto Jimenez Jr. & Campo Elias Restrepo At one point in the telling, chapter 4, a census: 37 widows, 45 maidens, 15 children At another point…”all 93 women and Santiago…” the telling Like other stories I’ve read by those from south of the border, the telling here is humorous. (the interludes are another matter) One can hear this deadpan delivery, say like in a recitation of the people of the town, the mayor’s son, who has the only ball, or the widow Morales’s daughters, more than one w/a…problem that is…different. Or maybe it is a case of reading along and something seems to come out of nowhere…like that trivia question, how’s it go, so and so on such and such a day this and that...took him to see ice. Marquez, right? And of course, you keep reading right along, or maybe you backtrack, a grin forming, so you can enjoy it again. There’s some hilarious things happening here. Like Babaloosi-Babaloosi, a medical condition, confirmed by the English doctor Harry Walsh, yea, verily, all those years ago. Chapter ten is a bit of an eye-opener. Rosalba realizes that all she’s done is make lists today for tomorrow. I don’t read in a vacuum, so when that idea is applied to America the Beautiful, w/fearless leaders all hogging the camera to say what needs to be done…should be interesting to read what now. Heh heh. Go backwards, time. the mechanics or how the story is put together The telling follows a progressive timeline. There are interludes between the chapters, these told from the perspective of various men in the region. This is neato. A plus. These interludes are brief, telling, and surely they highlight for the reader how the region is turned upside down. Julio has become Julia, por favor. Perhaps some history, the political civil war of 1948, known as La Violencia. OOOOOOO, a twist…nice…an interview, the 1st interlude Gordon Smith, 28 American Reporter “John R.,” 13 Guerrilla soldier This at 6% switches to 1st person, as told by Gordon. The Guerrilla camp. Location: The highlands, 3-days on foot from the nearest town. John’s real name, Juan Carlos Ceballos Vargas, or so says the file that the commandant gave to Gordon. The file also says Juan is 16. Gordon interviews John R. second interlude//interview Javier Vanegas, 17, Displaced. The narrator of this piece is Javier, who wished to be a magician, but he had to help his father, along with his two little sisters, raising chicken & pigs, & like everyone, cultivated coca. “Tricks of Fun” dreams have become “Tricks of Survival” making things appear/disappear third interlude Jose L Mendoza, 32 Lieutenant-colonel, Columbian National Army 1st person 4th interlude Angel Alberto Tamaca, 35 Guerrilla commandant In this interlude, we learn of the paramilitaries, a 3rd force, among the other two, the national army and the guerrillas. Angel may be the former schoolteacher of Mariquita…this interlude, coming after the 4th chapter, about the new schoolteacher, is telling. Why bother teaching history when they learn so well without? 5th interlude Jesus Martinez, 48 Ex-colonel, Columbian National Army 1st person…Jesus meets Vicente Gomez, former guerrilla. Vincente is the former barber of Mariquita. They meet & greet, both in wheelchairs, Jesus wanting to kill the former guerrilla, though they shake hands, both renting rooms in a second-rate lodging home. So this interlude, like the previous, follows a chapter to do w/one of the widows, the interlude to do w/the husband. Why hasn’t he gone back to Mariquita? 6th interlude Manuel Reyes, 23 Guerrilla Soldier A guerrilla & dead Campo Elias Restrepo Jr., carried by another, the narrator, also a guerrilla, mimicking the previous chapter after a fashion. 7th interlude Bernardo Rbiano, 26, Right-wing paramilitary soldier Eye-narrator w/guerrillas, sounds like Bernardo is the narrator. The interludes, written to mimic what the previous chapter contained, involves violence and death, the previous chapter, the procreation campaign of the padre, Genesis 1:28 8th interlude Camilo Santos, 41 Roman Catholic priest A military units responds. A shovel. 9th interlude Rogelio Villamizat Right-wing paramilitary soldier. Interesting take on the previous chapter, as I’ve assumed that’s what these interludes are. TARFU. 10th interlude Plinio Tibaquira, 59 Peasant FUBAR 11th interlude Jacinto Jimenez Jr. 26 Guerrilla soldier …running away…and the right answer… 12th interlude Gerardo Garcia, 21 Right-wing paramilitary solider 13th interlude German Augusto Chamorro, 19 Soldier, Columbian National Army some remedies & things of note noted in the telling For arthritis, crush a live scorpion and put it in a bottle w/rubbing alcohol for a month, then rub it on joints every night before going to bed. To ease the plucking of a bird, first dip the fowl into hot water. (Harry Crews, one of my favorite story-tellers, fell into a caldron of water prepared for hogs, that are also rendered in this fashion. Footnote: Childhood, Biography of a Place)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Youssif

    No wonder why this novel reminded me of One Hundred Years of Soltitude since the author himself was influenced by Marquez. The novel started strong but unfortunately the plot then started to get out of hand. The narrating felt a bit all over the place. There are a lot of names and characters intertwining just like One Hundred Years of Soltitude yet it was hard for me to follow along here. It may be my bad to start reading this novel with great expectations.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Not at all what I expected, this story of what happens to a small, isolated rural 'town' when the men are all taken away or killed by the guerrilla soldiers became a study of how to survive without them. And Canon found many surprising ways to work that out. Not at all what I expected, this story of what happens to a small, isolated rural 'town' when the men are all taken away or killed by the guerrilla soldiers became a study of how to survive without them. And Canon found many surprising ways to work that out.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen Widmer

    Absolutely a joy to read! This book is filled with women figuring out there identities without men in their lives, and their struggle to form their own community. I thought the women in this book were well written and there were quite a few LGBT characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Soukaina Ait Ouasaa

    what a wonderful story

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    "The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race. --Susan B. Anthony" "Her dearest Mariquita had turned into a town of widows in a land of men." " 'And do you think God approves of you killing others?' He considered my question for a while before declaring, 'I think God doesn' "The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race. --Susan B. Anthony" "Her dearest Mariquita had turned into a town of widows in a land of men." " 'And do you think God approves of you killing others?' He considered my question for a while before declaring, 'I think God doesn't want me killing them anymore than he wants them killing us.' " "His eyes, black and sad, fixed on mine. I looked into them and saw a little boy learning how to shoot a pistol, hunting birds in the forest, saying prayers on his knees before going to war, opening fire on someone else's enemy with his eyes tightly closed." " 'Just one more question,' I said, noticing he was now looking at his watch. 'Tell me what made you join the guerrillas.' 'I was hungry.' " "People were more likely to revolt when they had empty stomachs." "Eventually, the twelve girls concluded that God had given them two eyes to better look at men, two ears to better hear what men might want to say, two arms to embrace them and two legs to wrap around them, but only one heart to give. Men, on the other hand, loved with their testicles, and God had given them two." "Men keep waging wars, and we keep suffering the consequences." "Francisca realized that her fears had come together with her fortune. They had only been waiting for the right occasion, a moment of complete weakness and despair, to reveal themselves." "It occured to her that both her mother and grandmother had had a free choice when they selected their paths. What they could've or should've done didn't matter anymore, because back then, at that moment when they had to decide which path to take, in their own minds both women had made the right choices. She, Virgelina, had no right to condemn them." "They declared that the first verb their mothers had taught them wasn't to be but to belong; therefore belonging would always come before being." " She paused to look up and then said, in the ingenuous voice of a young girl, 'Imagine that: an impartial human being, someone who won't take sides because they are neither male nor female. I think the world needs people like that.' " "The difference between day and night was within each woman, and it changed from moment to moment." "How terribly sad, she said to herself. That poor woman has gone through life with a single purpose in her mind: to prepare for death!" "Yes, maybe Rosalba had solved the mystery of existence: every time you encounter an obstacle in your path, all you ought to do is shut your eyes and walk in the opposite direction. Maybe Rosalba's mother had been wrong all along when she said that there was no worse blindness than that of those who refused to see." "Of course we have a future. Whether it's good or bad is a different thing." "The speech she'd just given, however, had come from a different Rosalba --an older, seasoned and more intellectually mature Rosalba who, Cleotilde sensed, was growing aware of the corrosive effect of passing rungs and ladders on her flesh; but who, instead of seeking relief in invisible gods, was strongly binding herself to reality, doing work that justified her existence, but that also empowered her to go on living." "But as difficult as it was for her, Cleotilde kept her thoughts to herself. Let them think it was all their idea; let them take all the credit. That, she concluded, was what wise women did."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The premise of Tales from the Town of Widows is superb: what happens when there are no men in a remote village and the town is run by women. That's what happens to Mariquita in Colombia during the civil war in the early 90s. Guerrillas kidnap or kill all the males (save for young boys, the priest and two men dressed as women) in the village and leave it for dead. The women wait and wait for government intervention and for their men to return. Neither happens and the women decide to govern the to The premise of Tales from the Town of Widows is superb: what happens when there are no men in a remote village and the town is run by women. That's what happens to Mariquita in Colombia during the civil war in the early 90s. Guerrillas kidnap or kill all the males (save for young boys, the priest and two men dressed as women) in the village and leave it for dead. The women wait and wait for government intervention and for their men to return. Neither happens and the women decide to govern the town themselves. They fail. For several years things just get worse -- little to no food, no running water or electricity, diseases, jealousies, non-cooperation, etc. The town is literally cut off from the outside world by the all-consuming jungle that takes over the neglected dirt roads. The nadir of the experiment comes when the priest decides, with God's blessing, to so gallantly save the village by sleeping with every woman who is still menstruating. Well, the rest would be a spoiler, but things move quickly for the better once the experiment is thankfully completed (and the priest does complete his duty quickly if you get my drift). What ensues in a female utopia with a few snags here and there. The book's overall premise kept me turning the pages, yet at times the prose could be very heavy and at times, downright cheesy. What you don't realize when you get the book is that the subtitle is "& Chronicles from the Land of Men". Every other chapter has a male American journalist's interview with a male who fights in the ware or who is affected by the war. Ahhh, juxtaposition. Plus the journalists weaves in and out of story in other ways as well. The book got a bit overt in its political and sexual preferences. At times it really reminded me of the out-of-print eco-feminist novel "The Wall" by Marlen Haushofer, which really made an impression on me. Perhaps that's why this book made less of an impression. The ideas in it weren't that new and the blatant bad guys were indeed of the male sex (and not wearing dresses).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Megan Udesky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. By examining Tales from the Town of Widows, it is clear that the tragedy of the Guerillas forcibly recruiting men for war ended up being beneficial for the women of Marquita. This ultimately illustrates that not all tragedies end in more tragedies. In this book, there are stories told from different points of view of different characters. It shows that some of the women in Marquita are upset, but then their lives get a whole lot better. In chapter 2, the story is told by the point of view of a w By examining Tales from the Town of Widows, it is clear that the tragedy of the Guerillas forcibly recruiting men for war ended up being beneficial for the women of Marquita. This ultimately illustrates that not all tragedies end in more tragedies. In this book, there are stories told from different points of view of different characters. It shows that some of the women in Marquita are upset, but then their lives get a whole lot better. In chapter 2, the story is told by the point of view of a women named Rosalba. Rosalba is the widow of the police sergeant in Marquita. After her husband's death she is, of course, upset about it. "When she laughed-a rare occurrence since her husband's death-she squinted and her mouth opened in an oval wide enough that the many silver fillings of her molars flashed."(Cañon 23) This quote not only shows that Rosalba rarely laughed after her husband's death, it shows great detail of the image of how she laughed. The description of her "silver fillings" aids to the sense of sight. It helps the reader picture seeing Rosalba laughing. Later on in the chapter, a military group came to Marquita. They were only their to see the damage of the village so the people of Marquita could get fair compensation. After a while of listening to the military leader's speech, Rosalba interrupted. She started making angry, but good, points about the village/villagers. She then mentioned the fact that her husband sacrificed his life fighting the guerillas. "'That alone,' Abraham replied, 'makes you the perfect leader for this village.'" At this point the military leader, Abraham, appoints Rosalba acting Magistrate. This shows that something good is coming out of her husband's death. She becomes Magistrate and begins to plan for an act to clean up Marquita. As a final point, there are some good things that came out of the husbands' deaths. Not all tragedies will end in more tragedies.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Krutika Puranik

    Tales from the town of widows :) . . . I had never even heard of this book till I accidentally stumbled upon it in the library. The story is fascinating and very refreshing. . . How would a town work if all the men disappeared? Who would fix things, farm vegetables and tend to animals? The book answers all these questions through a fictional story. When men of Mariquita are forced to leave with the communist guerrillas, women save their town. They build schools, grow food and even set their own time. Tales from the town of widows :) . . . I had never even heard of this book till I accidentally stumbled upon it in the library. The story is fascinating and very refreshing. . . How would a town work if all the men disappeared? Who would fix things, farm vegetables and tend to animals? The book answers all these questions through a fictional story. When men of Mariquita are forced to leave with the communist guerrillas, women save their town. They build schools, grow food and even set their own time. This was quite a gripping book that kept me entertained till the last chapter. Nothing extraordinary, yet completely interesting. I’d rate it 3.8/5. . . P.S. Women can really do wonders ;)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Tales From the Town of Widows serves up rich stories of how a small town of very unique women cope after their husbands, dads, sons and brothers are forced to go fight in the Colombian civil war for a band of guerrillas, or be shot on the spot. A few men are killed for resisting, but the majority reluctantly head out into the chaos of that devastating conflict. The women left behind consider the guerrillas' order a death sentence for their men. Their isolated, prosperous town rapidly decays, alo Tales From the Town of Widows serves up rich stories of how a small town of very unique women cope after their husbands, dads, sons and brothers are forced to go fight in the Colombian civil war for a band of guerrillas, or be shot on the spot. A few men are killed for resisting, but the majority reluctantly head out into the chaos of that devastating conflict. The women left behind consider the guerrillas' order a death sentence for their men. Their isolated, prosperous town rapidly decays, along with the morale of the inhabitants. Ultimately, those who stay devise a new, matriarchal society that, while far from Utopian, plays to the the residents' strengths. Spliced between each chapter is a heartbreaking chronicle of a different man caught up in the 40+-year war. James Canon tells a story that is vivid, amusing, magical and heartbreaking. The offbeat, bittersweet tale makes for a good read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This is the best book I've read in a really long time. We all know that citizens of countries torn by civil war experience profound sadness and tragedy, but I think we often forget that there is still humor, love, beauty, boredom, etc., and that they need to have these reminders of life to cope with their world. Tales from the Town of Widows tells the stories of the women left in an isolated village in Colombia after guerrillas kill or force all the men to join them. They progress from grief-caus This is the best book I've read in a really long time. We all know that citizens of countries torn by civil war experience profound sadness and tragedy, but I think we often forget that there is still humor, love, beauty, boredom, etc., and that they need to have these reminders of life to cope with their world. Tales from the Town of Widows tells the stories of the women left in an isolated village in Colombia after guerrillas kill or force all the men to join them. They progress from grief-caused death and disaster, to failed attempts at re-creating the society they knew, and finally to a bizarre and surprisingly successful Utopian community where everyone can thrive again (or for the first time). Their stories are incredibly tragic - and so are the interviews with the men fighting the war that end every chapter - but it's more a grander story of triumph than anything else.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    In the little town of Mariquita, disaster has struck. Guerrillas recruiting for their army have taken away all the males over the age of 12. The women mourn and grieve their bereaved state. But the solutions they come up with to deal with the crisis of no-man’s-land give them hope and a fierce state of independence. Then the men return… This novel could be seen as a precursor to Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s novel “Herland”. Here we get to see the struggle these women make of dealing in a town where In the little town of Mariquita, disaster has struck. Guerrillas recruiting for their army have taken away all the males over the age of 12. The women mourn and grieve their bereaved state. But the solutions they come up with to deal with the crisis of no-man’s-land give them hope and a fierce state of independence. Then the men return… This novel could be seen as a precursor to Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s novel “Herland”. Here we get to see the struggle these women make of dealing in a town where all the eligible men have gone. Greed, sexual duplicity and murder run rampant before the women come to solutions that allow them to live in harmony. It’s fascinating to read this and makes the case for living without the opposite sex a far more feasible one than Gilman’s radical novel ever did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hope Corizzo

    As a military wife, I thought this book would be a good discussion starter on how my subculture reacts to being left behind. When my bookclub talked of reading the book, it was an exciting discussion and we were excited to add it to our calendar. However, the book was very different from what we imagined and it was dropped from the calendar. The structure is similar to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio collection: a collection of short stories, each set on a different town member over the year As a military wife, I thought this book would be a good discussion starter on how my subculture reacts to being left behind. When my bookclub talked of reading the book, it was an exciting discussion and we were excited to add it to our calendar. However, the book was very different from what we imagined and it was dropped from the calendar. The structure is similar to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio collection: a collection of short stories, each set on a different town member over the years past the taking of the men. While the writing is good and clean, the story had little impact without building up to how the women were self-directed and independent and lonely.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    I really liked this book. It started off slowly, but sticking with it paid off. The author has a great way with dialogue and descriptive language. The characters weren't terribly fleshed out, but I think the book was more about the group of women than about any individuals. I didn't figure out until the end that the interspersed brief accounts of men in the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and army were related to the women's stories, but I don't think that was crucial. I don't think that the example I really liked this book. It started off slowly, but sticking with it paid off. The author has a great way with dialogue and descriptive language. The characters weren't terribly fleshed out, but I think the book was more about the group of women than about any individuals. I didn't figure out until the end that the interspersed brief accounts of men in the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and army were related to the women's stories, but I don't think that was crucial. I don't think that the example the town of New Mariquita provides of communal living is workable, but it certainly is convincing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is an interesting dystopian book about a small Colombian town called Mariquita, in which all of the town's men are taken away by guerrilla forces. The women of Mariquita come together to put their lives back together and re-structure the town in ways that benefit them all. The story is told over the course of approximately 20 years. There are lots of characters, but it is relatively easy to keep them all straight. Along the way there are fights and struggles, erotically charged moments, and This is an interesting dystopian book about a small Colombian town called Mariquita, in which all of the town's men are taken away by guerrilla forces. The women of Mariquita come together to put their lives back together and re-structure the town in ways that benefit them all. The story is told over the course of approximately 20 years. There are lots of characters, but it is relatively easy to keep them all straight. Along the way there are fights and struggles, erotically charged moments, and surprises around every corner. I read this as an assignment for a class, but I really enjoyed every minute of this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Flora

    What a charming discovery from a library shelf! So the men of the village are marched off by guerrillas, presumably never to be seen again. How do the women survive? What mental and social resources do they draw upon? It's delightful, entertaining, a bit mystical and probably what every guy secretly thinks would happen if women were left long enough to their own devices. (The author is graceful enough to be plausible about most of this.) Not terribly flattering to Catholicism, or men, for that m What a charming discovery from a library shelf! So the men of the village are marched off by guerrillas, presumably never to be seen again. How do the women survive? What mental and social resources do they draw upon? It's delightful, entertaining, a bit mystical and probably what every guy secretly thinks would happen if women were left long enough to their own devices. (The author is graceful enough to be plausible about most of this.) Not terribly flattering to Catholicism, or men, for that matter.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    What would happen if all the men in a remote Colombian village were taken away and the women were left to fend for themselves? hmmm...tempting :) I fell in love with some of the characters in this book just like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books. It was a well working, yet ironic, utopia. Although, if I was a guy, I would be a bit angry that most of the men portrayed in this book are vicious and ruthless. It was great to see a book about war that talked about the survivors rather than the milita What would happen if all the men in a remote Colombian village were taken away and the women were left to fend for themselves? hmmm...tempting :) I fell in love with some of the characters in this book just like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books. It was a well working, yet ironic, utopia. Although, if I was a guy, I would be a bit angry that most of the men portrayed in this book are vicious and ruthless. It was great to see a book about war that talked about the survivors rather than the military men.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Schneider

    In Mariquita, Columbia the men have been recruited by communist guerrillas. This is an empowering, sad, and sometimes humorous story of how a group of women cope without men to guide them. Who governs? How do they defend themselves? How do they deal with basic necessities like food? Important questions to the absurdity of if you don't know what time it is, then what is a day? Is this a female utopia? Does it work? treat men This is one of the best books I've read and written by debut author who In Mariquita, Columbia the men have been recruited by communist guerrillas. This is an empowering, sad, and sometimes humorous story of how a group of women cope without men to guide them. Who governs? How do they defend themselves? How do they deal with basic necessities like food? Important questions to the absurdity of if you don't know what time it is, then what is a day? Is this a female utopia? Does it work? treat men This is one of the best books I've read and written by debut author who recently learned the English language. Awesome.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sunni

    I wouldn’t say I “loved” it but I did like it and was very engaged by it and think it would make for interesting discussion. I read the reading guide questions for it and I’m not sure I know enough about “magical realism” or Latin American literature (I’ve not read much Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Allende). I did read “Like Water for Chocolate” which is magical realism…but I’ve never been in a discussion about it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This book was difficult to read. It is the tales of a village in Colombia, after the guerillas have come in and taken away or killed all of the men. It is a town of widows. Between each of the chapters are first-person narratives of the men (and boys) of Colombia and how, in different ways, they are trapped by the war. The entire book is beautifully written, but very very sad. I had to stop often to think about what I was reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Tales From the Town of Widows begins with the day where guerrillas invade a Colombian village and kill/kidnap all the men in sight. With the men gone, the women of the village suffer for a while until they slowly but surely start taking charge of their own lives and rebuilding the community. If you’re looking for a quick and easy read this summer that will make you laugh and cry, give this one a try.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I liked the story about the women but didn't think the occasional couple of pages from the male perspective added anything to the overall story. It was a little slow to get started but once they set up their New Mariquita I wanted to know how it ended. The ending was a little "wrapped up with a bow". I liked the story about the women but didn't think the occasional couple of pages from the male perspective added anything to the overall story. It was a little slow to get started but once they set up their New Mariquita I wanted to know how it ended. The ending was a little "wrapped up with a bow".

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.