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Martín Fierro
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message 1: by Gail (last edited Feb 25, 2019 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gail (gailifer) | 897 comments I finished reading Martín Fierro and can not give it a star rating as I am afraid that it should really be read in the original Spanish. I spent a lot of time finding translations of all the Spanish proverbs and idioms even though I was reading an English translation. I also do not bring to the story any insight into Argentina culture and therefore again, it was hard for me to judge.
However, I enjoyed the general tale or plot of this epic poem in which our hero, Martín Fierro, a gaucho from the countryside of Argentina is impressed into the army to go out and protect the frontier from the warrior tribes of the land. (As in North America, the tribes of Argentina were fierce warriors and rode horses into battle and like in North America, they were largely wiped out by the army). Martín sings his tale to an audience of sympathetic listeners and we, the readers, hear all about his story.
As the government did not see fit to pay their soldiers nor provide them with even the basics of their profession, all the soldiers were left poor and starving when they finally made it home. In our hero's case he finally deserted but found his home in ruins and his family gone when he finally makes it back. Thru a series of misfortunes, Martín becomes an outlaw. The second part of the book has him meeting up with his sons and and a good friend's son also. They also sing their stories which are slightly less personal but equally damning of the government that protected Buenos Aires over the rancher's and the gaucho's way of life. There is also a delightful twist at the end involving a competition between Martín and another singer.
Evidently, the poem was widely popular in its time and was published in little booklets that were passed around and even read aloud to those who could not read. It is now considered a great Argentinian classic and is taught in all the schools.

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 893 comments 3 stars

I am not the best reader of epic poetry. I think this book is probably worthy of a better audience and a better score, but for me it was an average read. I didn't find myself connected to the story in the way that I would to a novel.

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