Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories
DescriptionAn NYRB Classics Original Thus Were Their Faces offers a comprehensive selection of the short fiction of Silvina Ocampo, undoubtedly one of the twentieth century's great masters of the story and the novella. Here are tales of doubles and impostors, angels and demons, a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks, a beautiful seer who writes the autobiography of her own death, a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman, a suicidal romance, and much else that is incredible, mad, sublime, and delicious. Italo Calvino has written that no other writer "better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don't show us." Jorge Luis Borges flatly declared, "Silvina Ocampo is one of our best writers. Her stories have no equal in our literature." Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world's most individual and finest.
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About the Author
Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, including White Is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award; Mr. Fox, which won a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and most recently Boy, Snow, Bird. In 2013, she was named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), a giant in Latin American letters, wrote numerous books of poetry, fiction, and essays, and was a prodigious translator of authors such as Kipling, Woolf, Faulkner, and Poe. He was a regular contributor to Victoria Ocampo's journal Sur, and a frequent dinner guest of Silvina Ocampo and Bioy Casares. Over one of their legendary conversations, the three friends came upon the idea of editing the Antología de la Literatura Fantástica, which was published in 1940.
"These stories are feverish, cruel, and wry, set among the surrealisms of puberty, disability, and precarity." --Joshua Cohen, Harper's
"She lived a little in the shadow of her sister Victoria on the one hand and of her husband Bioy Casares and Borges on the other. She was an extravagant woman when writing her stories, short and crystalline, she was perfect." --César Aira"Dark, masterly tales...a (very good) introduction...a (very good) translator...Ocampo's technique is beyond all reproach; an author has to keep masterly control when letting events veer off beyond the quotidian (the phrase 'magic realism' seems inadequate when applied to her)." --Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian "Ocampo wrote with fascinated horror of Argentinean petty bourgeois society, whose banality and kitsch settings she used in a masterly way to depict strange, surreal atmospheres sometimes verging on the supernatural." --The Independent "Few writers have an eye for the small horrors of everyday life; fewer still see the everyday marvelous. Other than Silvina Ocampo, I cannot think of a single writer who, at any time or in any language, has chronicled both with such wise and elegant humor." --Alberto Manguel
"Silvina Ocampo is one of our best writers. Her stories have no equal in our literature." --Jorge Luis Borges "Silvina Ocampo is, together with Borges and García Márquez, the leading writer in Spanish." --Jorge Amado "Unsettling and off-kilter, revelatory and readable." --A.N. Devers, Longreads
"Magical....Ocampo's earlier words resonate now with something of the 'clairvoyance' Borges once attributed to her....Mind-blowing hallucinogenic lines...make it important to take the stories in small, slow doses lest we zip by and miss them." --Jill Schepmann, The Rumpus
"Ocampo mixes unembellished narration and dark, fantastic elements into a heady cocktail." --Heather Cleary, Lit Hub