City of Angels The History of Recoleta Cemetery by Omar López Mato
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Books in English on Argentina’s Recoleta Cemetery are impossible to find, so I was thrilled when this one turned up on Amazon. It’s a beautifully illustrated walking tour guide to Buenos Aires’ amazing open air cemetery/museum of art and history, stuffed with full-page full-color photos of one-of-a-kind statuary and architecture.
So why don’t I give the book more stars? The text reads like it’s been put through Google Translate. Usually, I could figure out what it meant to say, but then there’s this: “Being the only offsprirg (sic), her parents honoured her (should read their) beloved daughter building this vault in the particular style she cultivated.” I’m not entirely sure what cultivated means. Preferred? The girl was 25 when she died. Maybe she was an architect, setting a fashion with her work?
The text continues, “The statue was commended to (commissioned from?) Villarich who depicted her from ancient pictures in the company of her predilect dog.” The photos weren’t that ancient, since she died in 1970. I think predilect is a mistranslation for favorite. It’s a lovely statue, whatever the text intended to say.
The fractured English does have its charming moments. The listing above concludes with: “His (her?) father, a famous stylist, wrote a poem in Italian, distilling his sorrow.” As much as I mock, I am touched by the image of the father’s sorrow distilled into poetry. I’m guessing her dad wrote her epitaph.
The book has a thumbnail map for every entry, so it would be easy to locate these monuments in the overstuffed cemetery. There are even written directions and a fold-out map in the back, complete with directional arrows. All in all, it makes me want to go see Recoleta Cemetery for myself.
I got my copy from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2g0wuGZ.
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