Magazine article Tikkun

The Gypsy Bible

Magazine article Tikkun

The Gypsy Bible

Article excerpt

If a friend asked me what Latin American writers he should read I would name Carlos Fuentes, Jose Donoso, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Augusto Roa Bastos, Julio Cortazar, Miguel Angel Asturias, and, of course, Jorge Luis Borges. But if he told me he had time to read only one Latin American novel, I would recommend Moris Farhi's Journey Through the Wilderness, now available for the first time in the United States together with his Children of the Rainbow. Journey Through the Wilderness is the epitome Latin American novel, even though it is written by a British novelist, Moris Farhi, born in Ankara, Turkey, of Sephardi parents.

Unlike Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, which uses Mexico only as the backdrop for a plot involving Europeans, Farhi's tale of despair and hope conjures the people, history, myths, dreams, and landscapes of half of the South American continent. Set in an unnamed country inhabited by the descendants of the Incas and reminiscent of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina, Journey Through the Wilderness is a powerful indictment of the dictators, oligarchs, military juntas, and old wealth who, between them, own 90 percent of their countries' resources and are the main cause of Latin America's political woes. It is an equally powerful indictment of the American political and religious right and the multinational corporations which not only eagerly support this privileged minority, but also aid and abet it to stay in power.

Daniel Brac arrives in South America to restore a newly discovered religious masterpiece, rumored to portray-among the faces of the saints-the face of the legendary hero Manku Yupanqui. Locals claim that Yupanqui has conquered death and is due to reappear in order to lead the persecuted Indians to victory. Is it the face of Yupanqui or some other? Perhaps that of Daniel himself, an anguished, self-hating man who, unable to forgive, years ago, a momentary display of fear by his father-a partisan hero executed by the Nazis-renounced his Jewishness and became a Christian?

Some writers go for the mind, some for the heart-Farhi does both, and he pulls no punches. To attain wholeness and redemption Daniel must finally take his life into his own hands. He must find the sun's missing ray, feel on his face God's breath, even if God turns out to be not the stern masculine God of his forefathers but a feminine Deity who smiles at him with Her million eyes and touches him with Her million breasts. …

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