When you run into Trafalgar Medrano at the Burgundy or the Jockey Club and he tells you about his latest intergalactic sales trip, don’t try to rush him. He likes to stretch things out over half a dozen coffees. No one knows whether he actually travels to the stars, but he’s the best storyteller around, so why doubt him?
Trafalgar, a novel-in-stories, was originally published in Argentina in 1979. It starts off light and refreshing right from the very first short Who’s Who in Rosario listing for Trafalgar, although there are occasional clouds that pass through Trafalgar Medrano’s bright and happy stories.
Excerpts are forthcoming in F&SF, Tor.com, Lightspeed, Belletrista, and Eleven Eleven.
“Had I to choose five words to describe it, I would call it: quiet, contemplative, provoking, bizarre—and brilliant. Quite, quite brilliant.
“It is not the kind of thing I would normally choose to read.
“But now that I’ve read it, I am at liberty to inform you I found it delightful. Thought-provoking. Impressive. Brilliant.”
—Liz Bourke, Tor.com
“The narrative of this compilation draws the reader into the story of an ordinary man traveling to alternative worlds. Gorodischer creates an atmosphere where fascinating stories take on the ordinariness of everyday life.”
“This understated and impressive story cycle, written in 1979 by Argentinean author and World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial), relates the adventures of intergalactic trader and coffee addict Trafalgar Medrano. When he meets with the unnamed narrators, he tells of his attempts to raise money by selling goods and services on other planets; most of his efforts end in improbable, hilarious disaster, such as being mistaken for Mandrake the Magician or finding a world that looks exactly like Earth—in 1492. The tropes are well-worn, but Gorodischer takes them in entertaining directions that both evoke their golden age roots and transcend them with a layer of absurdism. Gladhart’s translation spotlights Trafalgar’s dryly comic statements, like “I changed the course of history; nothing more than that.” Trafalgar’s adventures build on each other nicely, creating a collection that’s a joy to read.”
Table of Contents
By the Light of the Chaste Electronic Moon
The Sense of the Circle
The Best Day of the Year
The González Family’s Fight for a Better World
–Interval with my Aunts
Trafalgar and Josefina
–End of the Interval
Strelitzias, Lagerstroemias, and Gypsophila
Trafalgar and I
Praise for Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial:
“Le Guin’s translation of a work by a prominent Argentine writer elegantly articulates the shifting tones of the larger narrative, whose theme seems to be the endless imperfectibility of human society.”
—New York Times Summer Reading
“The dreamy, ancient voice is not unlike Le Guin’s, and this collection should appeal to her fans as well as to those of literary fantasy and Latin American fiction.”
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Gorodischer has a sizeable body of work to be discovered, with eighteen books yet to reach English readers, and this is an impressive introduction.”
—Review of Contemporary Fiction
“Gorgeous, and a lot of fun, and the stories are lovely.”
—Jo Walton, Tor.com
[A] “remarkable collaboration . . . an engossing escape . . . a useful tonic and reminder that the irascible perspectives of Borges and Cortazar are alive and well.”
“Those looking for offbeat literary fantasy will welcome Kalpa Imperial.”
“Evokes weighty matters lightly and speaks of self-evident wisdom while itself remaining mysterious.”
“It’s always difficult to wrap up a rave review without babbling redundant praises. This time I’ll simply say “Buy this Book!”
“Nabokovian in its accretion of strange and rich detail, making the story seem at once scientific and dreamlike.”
—Time Out New York
Angélica Gorodischer, daughter of the writer Angélica de Arcal, was born in 1929 in Buenos Aires and has lived most of her life in Rosario, Argentina. From her first book of stories, she has displayed a mastery of science-fiction themes, handled with her own personal slant, and exemplary of the South American fantasy tradition. She has received many awards for her work including most recently the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Amalia Gladhart lives in Portland, OR.