The Old Man Who Read Love Stories: A Novel (Paperback)

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories: A Novel By Luis Sepúlveda, Peter Bush (Translated by), Alvaro Enrigue (Introduction by) Cover Image

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories: A Novel (Paperback)

By Luis Sepúlveda, Peter Bush (Translated by), Alvaro Enrigue (Introduction by)


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“Gripping and passionate . . . keenly recounted . . . full of poetry.”—New York Times

Now in a beautiful new edition, the spellbinding classic tale of man and nature, honor, and adventure, in which the peaceful life of an aging, book-loving widower in the Ecuadorean jungle is upended when an ignorant tourist provokes a mother ocelot.

Antonio José Bolivar Proaño lives quietly in a river town in the rain-soaked jungle of Ecuador that is slowly being overrun by tourists and opportunists. Having lost his wife decades earlier, he takes refuge in books—paperback novels of faraway places and bittersweet love, delivered to him by the dentist who visits the village twice a year.

One day, a greedy trader pushes nature too far, setting an enraged mother ocelot on a bloody rampage through the village. The old man, a hunter who once lived among the Shuar Indians and knows the jungle better than anyone, is pressured by the village's detested mayor to join the expedition to kill the animal. Reluctantly. the old man is forced into the middle of a raging conflict between man and nature that will end in a powerfully climactic confrontation.

Luis Sepúlveda, born in Chile in 1949, was a novelist, journalist, and playwright who once worked in the Amazon for UNESCO. Politically involved with left-wing movements, he was imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison after the military coup in Chile, but was able to go into exile thanks to the efforts of Amnesty International. He worked as a press correspondent in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Central America, and was an activist for Greenpeace and other humanitarian causes. He received numerous prizes, including the International Grinzane Cavour Award, the Tigre Juan, the France Culture Etrangêre Award and the Taormina Award for Literary Excellence. He died in Spain in 2020.

“Magical . . . Readers will be enchanted.” — New York Times

“Sepulveda writes with a keen sense of irony and humor as harsh and colorful as the jungle itself.” — Raleigh News & Observer

“A seamless blend of simple story, mythic characters and artfully bold language.” — Memphis Commercial Appeal