There are some books that just demand to be reread. For Emre, who I’m hoping will become a regular contributor to The Millions, the book he reread this year is also the best book he read this year.
I never read a book twice until The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll. When I finished reading the outlandish escapades of Maqroll in early November of ’03, I knew that I would read the book at least two more times. The seven novellas that Alvaro Mutis wrote over the past twenty years are now collected in one 700 page volume, which relates the wanderings of one Maqroll the Gaviero (the lookout). The stories of Mutis’ inconspicuous protagonist are presented by different narrators and in a random chronological order. The cleverly placed references in each novella help the reader discern the order of events, which unfortunately does little to dispel the mystery surrounding Maqroll and leaves the reader aching to know more about him. Mutis consoles the reader, albeit a little, each time a new character crosses paths with Maqroll. Presenting each person very skillfully and in great depth, Mutis ultimately paints a picture in which lifelong adventurers, crooks, lovers, sailors, miners, farmers, truckers, and dreamers cross paths by way of the most unimaginable, yet very possible, events. The Adventures and Misadventures is not just a modern day Don Quixote, as some termed it, but more a lyrical novel, a great ode to beautiful friendships, novel personas, and true emotions – joy and agony alike. It has been only one month since I finished reading The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll for the second time and I am already itching to read it again, this time in the chronological order that I discerned. It is a great novel that leaves the reader asking for more. The good thing is, you can go right back to page one. Enjoy.
I should note here that I often cite Maqroll as the best book I have ever read (I, too, intend to reread it some time soon). If you care about fiction, I implore you to become acquainted with the Gaviero. You won’t regret it.