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hungry may eat. A w aid Skip a meal so the November 18 fit4t Send your tax. fiettycil deductible contribution to: Oxfam 115 Broadway America I Boston, MA 02116 Oxfam America is a nonprofit agency supporting self help development and disaster relief projects in 33 countries of Asia. Africa and Latin America Life Insurance and Annuities Martin Elfant, CLU 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 friends, “because the Conservatives are tricky.” Colonel Aureliano Buendia goes on to organize 32 armed uprisings, survives 14 attempts on his life, 73 ambushes, and a firing squad. He somehow manages to of whom are exterminated on a single night before the oldest reaches age 35. After the civil wars are ended, “on one of so many Wednesdays,” an agent of an American banana company arrives in Macondo. Altering the pattern of the rains, accelerating the cycle of harvests, moving the river beside which Jose Arcadio Buendia had laid out the streets of the village, the banana company changes forever what Macondo is. When the government breaks a strike among the plantation workers by killing 3,000 huelgistas assembled in Macondo’s plaza, no one notices. Through the whirlpool of change, life in Macondo goes on: the village priest learns to levitate, one of the Buendia women wrapped in a white sheet ascends into heaven, the old gypsy who taught Jose Arcadio the alchemy by which he turned gold into base metal returns from the dead \(where the solitude is unbearathe Buendia family are fulfilled. History as a fable? Not so argues Garcia Marquez, explaining that his work is an honest attempt to interpret the history of that part of the Americas where the surreal is commonplace: To the reader who doesn’t know the history of my country, One Hundred Years of Solitude might seem to be a good novel, subject to being interpreted in many ways, and only “with difficulty would he understand the 32 civil wars of Colonel Aureliano Buendia, the crudeness of the wars waged by conservatives and liberals . . . and the 3,000 dead in the plaza of Macondo who no one remembered having fallen, mowed down by the machine-guns of the soldiers, all of this means nothing to someone who doesn’t know or hasn’t lived the history of Colombia. \(Miguel Fernandez Braso, GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ, una conversaci6n infinita, “The work of a novelist,” Garcia Mar quez has said repeatedly, “is to write good novels.” This he has done and through half a dozen novels he has interpreted for us the strange historical reality that exists between the Rio Bravo and the Tierra del Fuego. Barthelme, in his 1971 review, ranks One Hundred Years of Solitude “just be hind the Book of Genesis.” This we recognize as hyperbole, but only very small hyperbole. Gabriel Garcia Marquez deserves the Nobel Prize, as well as a night’s free lodging in Texas. Zigal’s Playland an Original PLAYLAND By Thomas Zigal Austin: Thorp Springs Press 216 pp., $10.00 By Max Westbrook Austin TEXAS HAS A NEW literary talent. Thomas Zigal’s Playland may well be one of the best half dozen novels ever written by a Texan. Certainly, it could be nominated as the best novel yet published in Texas. The story itself is bizarre, the characters believable, and the style is realistic. The ending is comic and horrifying at once, but readers will learn in the opening chapters that Zigal is not indulging in fantasy. He is telling us something shocking about our own lives, our own times. The protagonist is Glenn James, a nuclear physicist who helped make the first atomic bombs. Horrified by the bomb he Max Westbrook is professor of .English at UT-Austin. has helped to create, James becomes an underground protester. As the story opens, he is broke, in poor health, and approaching old age. Then he is suddenly and mysteriously offered half a million dollars for three days work. He is to pose as his lookalike, an eccentric millionaire named Zaner. Like Howard Hughes, Zaner is a recluse in danger of betrayal. Having spent four years at Alcatraz for incometax fraud, he has now purchased the defunct prison and made it into the Rock Island Playland, a Disneyland in which patrons may playact their favorite crimes. The idea, supposedly, is that pretending to commit crimes will pacify dark urges and thus prevent actual crimes. Glenn James, in agreeing to pose as Zaner during ceremonies opening Playland, is helping to create Playland, just as he helped create the first atomic bombs. Supposedly, the atomic bomb is insurance against war. Supposedly, Playland is insurance against crime. James and Zaner, however, are doubles; and no mechanical marvel will save us from ourselves. The story of the aging protestor of nuclear warfare is interwoven with the stories of Sonny and Daphie. Sonny, the nephew of Glenn James, periodically searches for his missing uncle. Daphie, a run-away looking for something other than establishment materialism, is the daughter of a wealthy family back east. Their relationship enables the story to end, in spite of horror, with just a hint of affirmation. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21