Reviewed by Mariela Griffor
I like very much the tension of existential discharge contained in the pages. I like the feelings of anxiety and brusque, or better said the brutal, mental fracture that comes from some of the short stories in this collection. The shortest of these stories, and the one that bears the title of the book itself, Apocalypses with Amazons, is my favorite. It took me years to understand the work of Etcheverry and I’m not saying this for it being a lesser qualification but rather for its surrealistic complexity. It is representative of the works of the School of Santiago, created in the sixties whose slogan was “Here exists neither poetry nor prose: here exists only The Word.” A linguistic slogan that included later on the cultural class of exile.
Apocalypse of the Amazons is different from other books of magic realism coming from Chilean expat Etcheverry, it is precise and chooses his characters carefully. He portrays the feminine characters as strong, attractive, smart, vulnerable and as intellectuals. His feminine characters never subdue. Many times these women are stronger, wiser.
I’m not surprised that an author like Etcheverry had strong political views that creates an environment where reality is ‘fixed’ into an ulterior development where human values prevail, where human rights are saved and preserved, instead of the despots profiting of a modern society. Like searching for a perfect escape from a sordid reality, Etcheverry tries to ‘fix’ the outcome from the negative impact that a world that excludes so many, caused in the mind and soul of its members. The human spirit prevails in wonderful trips as “a bird that crossed the sky of fire, casting over the world the texts of what is called the operative Magic.”
Despite the criticism and cynicism from the diary of Alberto Magno, the lines of “his” literary Alberto Magno, the lines of his faithful belief in humanity pour out in some of the lines: “And like this as a species of spiritual animal, overfed and misbalanced, impregnated over all existence in the Middle Ages, amplified to the square by technology that ended demonstrating that the ideas, religions and beliefs flowing over the grey world that doesn’t produce only dragons burning the skies, but also other entities, Greta Garbo and I leave the reality flow according our desires …”.
Read this book, it will make you think. You will enjoy the reading. Etcheverry writes in this book about themes that are important, such insertion, acclimatization, dislocation, language decay and the search for the common in us. We share with him his love for the continent. His search, is a continuous search for making people from “the other Americas” more recognizable to the North.