Conscientious Objector

A Conversation With Eduardo Galeano

As Galeano tells it, books use him as a surrogate mother from which to fall into the world's lap. When they are ready "they knock at the door asking to get out," he says, rubbing his hand against his forehead. And while these creatures wend their way through his system, he walks and dreams in his hometown of Montevideo, a "human scale" city near the sea, which seems "prehistoric" because there are still "more encounters among people rather than among machines."

The Full Montevideo: Uruguay's renegade writer Eduardo Galeano
photo: Pak Fung Wong
The Full Montevideo: Uruguay's renegade writer Eduardo Galeano

Although he shuns the application of the term Magical Marxism to his work today (it's more like magical democratic socialism), the blend of fictional forms, autobiography, and radical social critique remains fresh for readers who yearn to find literary works with a political compass. This is Galeano—tender, dreamy, indignant, and astute. "I try to write in a feel-thinking way," he says, "to understand reality deeply in order to help change it, not just with the head, but with the heart." To read him is to step full- body through his story windows, bypassing the potholes in the brain, walking and breathing, even as bruises flicker ahead.

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