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Short Stories in Spanish: New Penguin Parallel Text

Short Stories in Spanish: New Penguin Parallel Text
Author/Publisher: John L. King
Emphasis: Fiction
List Price: $15

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Reflecting the variety of modern Spanish literature, these stories range from the sharp insights of Gabriel García Marquez's María dos Prazeres to Isabel Allende's powerful evocation of the oral traditions of the Amerindian Walimai, the deceptive simplicity of Javier Marías's On the Honeymoon, and the philosophical speculation of Laura Freixas's Absurd Ending.

Language Notes
Text: Spanish, English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (January 2, 2001)
  • Language: Spanish, English
  • ISBN-10: 0140265414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140265415
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review:

    3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Great stories but tough for intermediates
I will add that if you are looking for light reading this may not be for you. This is "real" literature and requires some concentration. IMHO intermediates will find the stories challenging to read in Spanish and beginners may give up (although the English translations are worth reading as well). My favorite story was Maria dos Prazeres.


Rating: 2 out of 5 stars - Not exactly a literal translation.
When I look for parallel text books, it is important to me that each book does an accurate job translating the original Spanish into its exact English equivalent. These books are training aids, and as such, I feel they need to uphold that accuracy as best as possible.

However, this book takes some liberties. The authors will take Spanish phrases and words, and mold them into English phrases and words that are chosen by their own taste in vocabulary. For the student who is learning one language or the other, it would seem very helpful if authors did not dance around a translation to make it sound good in English. I would much prefer a literal translation so that I can study the structure of each sentence, and note how the words are being used in context. When I read the word "tiempo precioso," I expect to see "precious time" in English, not "valuable time," or some other synonym. The latter phrase is not only used regularly in English, but it is a direct translation. This, of course, is an utmost basic example.

Once you highlight the loose interpretations in the book, you can continue studying the rest of the language. The stories are diverse and interesting enough to want to continue reading. I agree with other reviewers in that they are a bit dark in nature, but entertaining nonetheless.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars - Challenging for Beginners
I love, love, love the Allende story, but generally found the stories selected for this book dark and depressing. No matter, I'm sure that many won't agree with me. I just want to note that the vocabulary and sentence structure can be pretty challenging (I'm about intermediate), so this might not be suitable for beginners, but might be just what someone who is more advanced is looking for.


Rating: 2 out of 5 stars - not for me
I know, these are supposed to be great literary works. Sorry, not very interesting!


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Excellent learning tool
This book begins with easy stories, mostly in present tense. It progresses to more difficult stories. The stories are by Latino authors, so you have the additional bonus of Latino culture with the stories. The back of the book gives brief information about the authors. It includes exercises, some to be answered orally and others written, and a Spanish glossary. It's a good tool to have in your "bag of tricks" for learning and improving your Spanish.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Challenging!
Not quite as simple as I'd anticipated before purchase. If you are a beginner this would be a good book to help practise pronounciation - if you have someone around to correct you. As an intermediate learner this book is quite challenging especially since you translate the Spanish 'literally' and the English version is a proper translation, so after that initial shock it's quite good reading. However, you also have to get over the idiomatic expressions. The stories are quite good otherwise and make a great read in English if the Spanish is too difficult.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - encantador leído
¡Éste es un encantador leído! Presenta español en un ambiente contextually rico.
This is a delightful read! Presents spanish in a contextually rich environment.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - Good to help you secure your learning
Definitely not a beginners book. Probably comes in at the intermediate level & above. Assumes you know the complete verb system...the stories throw pretty much everything at you in terms of sentence construction. The more advanced you are, the less you need to depend on the English translation and just read the stories in Spanish, which even by themselves are treasures (I. Allende, G. Garcia Marquez, C. Fuentes among the estimable authors included).

The translations are a joy to read, because you notice right away that there's not this word-for-word transliteration that you get with many attempts at parallel texts. The translators (each credited in their own right) really try to bring across in English the feeling and emotion that the writer intended when they penned the original Spanish. It's eye-opening. On top of that, the book's editor John R. King has added about 20 - 30 or so footnotes per story that really take your understanding to a new level. A great example: in the first story, he adds a footnote to denote when the two characters in the story slip from using formal verb construction into informal. It would have slid right by me, had it not been for the footnote. And it does mark a definite change in the direction of the story.

Really good stuff.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - Good literature and great linguistics
Short Stories in Spanish improves ones language skills through enjoyable stories and excellent linguistic explanations. These stories come from many different spanish speaking countries, which allows the student to be exposed to different style and slang. Not only are the stories translated correctly, but certain words, names, and phases are explained in depth relating to culture or history. Furthermore, the difficulty of this book is from advanced beginner to expert.



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