Peace Corps Writers
Review
Father Sun — Mother Moon

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Abya Yala
Av. 12 de Octubre 14-30 y Wilson
     Casilla: 17-12-719
     Quito, Ecuador

See Charles Kleymeyer's other titles in the Bibliography

by Charles David Kleymeyer (Peru 1966–68)
Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-Yala, $4.20 + $1.33 postage
     http://www.abyayala.org/ Go to      Publicaciones>Autores>Kleymeyer
130 pages
2000

Reviewed by Ted O. Hall (Peru 1966–68)

SINCE HIS PEACE CORPS SERVICE, Charles David Kleymeyer has continued living and working the Peace Corps experience in various professional capacities, and this book is largely a collection of four short stories that revolve around the author’s 20 years as a representative for the Inter-American Foundation in Ecuador.
     The stories concern the hopes and desperations of the indigent poor in Ecuador. The first two consider the agrarian reform movement that spread across the continent of South America in the 1960s and 70s. Reform was hoped for relief to the economic woes of those poor campesinos who had previously worked land for wealthy hacendados. However, through the stories we find that carving up the land and passing title to the poor was mostly an attack on a symptom, not the permanent relief of the cause of economic discrimination. The third story tracks the travails of a poor fisherman whose ancestral fishing grounds had been depleted by commercial fishing and industrial pollution. This story considers his agonizing choice to venture a day’s journey out to sea in a dugout canoe in stormy weather, or to stay ashore to see his family face one more day of hunger. Those who enjoyed “The Perfect Storm” may find this story an interesting corollary. The final story in the collection gives the reader cause for hope, as it tracks the continued effort of the indigent to achieve pluricultural acceptance despite all of their previous failures.
     The stories are presented in three different languages: Spanish, Ecuadorian Quichua, and English. They are easy to read and can be consumed during the time it would take to make a cross country plane trip.
     The author, who holds a degree in Creative Writing and Literature and has long worked as a sociologist, has a writing style that reflects an interesting combination of these two fields of study. If I were to fault the the writing it would be because the author left me dangling at certain points. I would have appreciated more complete stories that would not have required so much surmise and imagination on my part. I’m sure this was the author’s intention, but it left me with an empty feeling once I put down the volume. On the other hand, maybe incomplete explanations are endemic to the Peace Corps experience.
Ted O. Hall is a member of the Southern Nevada Peace Corps Association. He is a published author of legal and accounting texts, and is working on his first novel from his Peace Corps memoirs.
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