The story begins with the ambush of royalist forces by montoneros. The montoneros later meet up with a person who would probably be described (in PC terms) as mentally challenged. He ends up becoming sort of adopted by the group as "El Tontito de la Patria." But he turns out not to be as harmless as they originally assumed.
I've had a little less to say over the last few stories, in part because there hasn't seemed to be as much to point out. None of the stories have really bugged me, as did some of the first ones that leaned a little heavily on shout-outs to the homeland. Also, my expectations have fallen more in line with the stories, so I'm no longer feeling disappointed that they don't seem to tell that much about the Gaucho War as a war.
There's an interesting sense of the place and of the sort of desperate situations that men could find themselves in when in such a terrain. (In that way, they´re somewhat reminiscent of Horacio Quiroga's stories of life in the jungle.) There´s occasionally an interesting character or a surprising plot development, sometimes with a hint (or more) of the supernatural. Overall, it's a fairly coherent and enjoyable, if not transformative, collection of short stories.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago