The jacket copy of Lands of Memory by Felisberto Hernández:
Lands of Memory presents a half-dozen wonderful works by the greatest Uruguayan writer of the twentieth century, Felisberto Hernández. His extraordinary stories have always been prized by other writers, and Lands of Memory—beautifully translated by Esther Allen—shows why.
The two dreamlike novellas “Lands of Memory” and “Around the Time of Clemente Colling” are carried along like pieces of otherworldly music: unfathomable connections are called up from the past, between people and objects and landscapes. On the mystery of these connections, he turns a searching, hypnotic, and radian light. And if Felisberto Hernández’s rhapsodic writing is almost painfully beautiful, it is at the same time often painfully funny. The four stories also included in Lands of Memory turn upon odd, off-the-wall events—small unpredictable moments which turn upside-down a first recital or a salesman’s calling.
Hernández’s style is absolutely sui generis. As Felisberto wrote in a short essay entitled “How Not to Explain My Stories”: “My stories have no logical structure. Even the consciousness undeviatingly watching over them is unknown to me.”
Felisberto Hernández possesses, as Francine Prose remarked in DoubleTake, “a gift for smudging the crisp edge of the real, for making the non sequitur seem the logical next step, for restoring the world to that Edenic and sinister childhood state in which flowers, fruit, the weather, insects, all manner of inanimate objects lead dangerous, hidden, polymorphously erotic lives of their own . . . And yet one always feels he is writing about a slightly different but parallel universe, in a variant language with its own literature and conventions. It's anyone’s guess why his plots start and finish where they do. What’s remarkable, then, is how quickly Felisberto’s idiosyncratic decisions—not only about literary form, but about logic and reality—begin to strike us as not merely right, but perfect and inevitable.”