Alejo Carpentier Long Fiction Analysis
The Lost Steps
The Lost Steps, a novel written in the first person by a character much like Alejo Carpentier, is the story of modern man and his desire to leave civilization to find himself in the origins of history. The narrator-protagonist, a musicologist working for an advertising agency, agrees to travel up a large river in South America in search of primitive instruments that will verify his theory concerning the origins of music. He undertakes this task at the request of his old professor at the university. It is time for his vacation, so he accepts the job, in part to take advantage of the opportunity to travel at the expense of the university. He goes with Mouche, his mistress, while Ruth, his wife, who is an actor, remains behind in the large city in which they live (presumably New York, although no specific indications are given). Because the narrator-protagonist is originally from Latin America, his return means also a new encounter with the language of his childhood.
He and Mouche spend time first at a Latin American capital (very much like Caracas and Havana), where he begins to remember his childhood and longs for the past. While they are at the capital, a revolution breaks out, forcing them to take refuge in the hotel where they are staying while bands of revolutionaries fight soldiers. The protagonist-narrator, who is recording all of these events in a diary, remembers World War II, in which he participated as a...
(The entire section is 1576 words.)
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