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Stephen King's The Stand

I’m writing this review in the week between Lost’s “Follow the Leader” and “The Incident.” If all goes according to (my purely speculative) plan, I’ll be able to post it without any changes moments after the Lost season finale. Don’t read it until you’ve seen the finale, even if I’m wrong (which you wouldn’t know until you read it, or if you traveled through time, which would be so awesome).

This review, by the way, marks the first-ever, much-vaunted Lost Lit Summer Book Reviews. The purpose of these reviews is to... um... well, to review books that have something to do with Lost. And hopefully to reveal something about the books, and about Lost, by doing so. The purpose of these reviews is not to point out super-obvious parallels, except where we can learn something bigger and more purposeful from the parallels. There are many great resources out there that point of similarities in names, places, even themes. But I’m hoping to present something a bit more cohesive than just a list of data, although probably less useful.

So, why wait to read this review (now that you’ve clicked the full post link)? Well, I’m basing this review on two comments that Darlton have made during the audio podcasts available on the ABC website. If I’m completely right, then they absolutely spoiled the finale for people who’ve already read The Stand. In fact, already I feel a bit spoiled, as many of the events of “Follow the Leader” really weren’t surprising. I don’t want to share that discontented feeling of suspecting I know what’ll happen, though.

So don’t read this until you’ve finished all of Season Five. Please. Then, if I’m wrong we can all laugh together. If I’m right, I expect massive adulation. (Oh, and I spoil the end of The Stand.)

The two revelatory comments that I’m referring to are, paraphrased:

• “We always keep a copy of The Stand on our table in the writer’s room.”
• “The Stand has been a huge influence on us. For the season finale, Trashcan Man.”

Stephen King’s The Stand is pure Middle Period King. His first few novels, like Carrie and The Shining, were tightly written and focused on just a few characters. His Middle Period (It, Tommyknockers, Needful Things, The Stand, etc.) was all about expanded novels that really enacted heteroglossia, a term developed by Mikhail Bakhtin to describe the ability of a novel (as opposed to drama, epic, or any other genre) to fully express a range of possible subject positions. Bakhtin was pretty much talking about class: the novel could and does allow upper, middle, and lower class voices to speak in one text. But other subject positions (independent identities with their own unique ways of relating to the world) are permitted as well: male, female, young, old, gay, straight…you get the picture. [Digression: yes, many modern novels aren’t heteroglossic at all. But many exemplary novels, like Dickens’s or Dostoevsky’s, are. And King is working in the tradition that Bakhtin is talking about.]

King’s Middle Period is all about multiple voices and multiple perspectives, much like Lost. In The Stand, we get to know a huge cast of characters as they negotiate a world stricken by a plague that kills roughly 99% of humanity. The remaining one percent are a pretty decent cross-section of America (Okay, they’re almost all white. He’s from Maine, what can you do?). But as different as these people are, nearly all of them wind up picking a side: good or evil, the White or the Red. Their different world views gradually coalesce into the side of the just, which is the Christian side led by Mother Abigail, or the side of the wicked, which is the side masterminded by the Crimson King* and orchestrated by Randall Flagg, his henchman.

Even from that brief summary of this 1000-page-plus novel, the influence on Lost should be transparent. King’s narrative is linear and teleological, but his strategy of quick tableaus to set up the relevant back story of his characters is pure Lost—Darlton shuffles the cards of their plot, whereas King lays them out, clubs to hearts.

As much as the first half of the book establishes unique characters, the Christian allegory, which grows more pronounced as the book reaches its conclusion, collapses many of the previous distinctions between the characters. Like in The Aeneid, where Aeneas recedes from the story once he finds out his true mission in Book VI, the actions of the characters become more important than their inner selves, because the dictates of the allegory require that their inner selves be either good-oriented or evil-oriented. We’ve even seen a bit of this on Lost, minus the whole Christian thing, as flashbacks are less about motivation and more about story in Season Five (when we get them at all).

But King’s explicitly religious allegory differs markedly from Lost thus far in one important regard: we have no idea who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are. Indeed, divorced from the Christological perspective, good versus bad seems like a moot point: selfish versus giving might be a more useful distinction, or murderous versus life-giving. (In that last binary, though, Richard Alpert trumps Sayid, which is weird.)

Which makes Darlton’s reference to Trashcan Man hard to understand. As the book winds to a close, four men set out from Boulder, where the good people have set up camp, to Vegas, where (of course) Randall Flagg and his band of evildoers reside. They’re directed by Mother Abigail, who returned from a vision quest to lay down the neo-Mosaic law. The men are captured and about to be publicly executed by Flagg when, like a bomb ex machina, Trashcan Man arrives.

Yes, we’ve heard all about Trashcan Man—a crazy pyromaniac with a sick devotion to Flagg and very little in the way of logical ability. But in a novel so long, it’s easy to lose track of a character or two. Last time we’d seen him, he was exiled from Eville and wandering in the desert (a neat counterpoint to Abigail’s forty days) where he discovers some nuclear missiles the US government left sitting around. So when he rolls the missile into Vegas—covered in radiation burns, chanting “My life for you!” (in reference to Flagg), and so happy that he’s found something that will make his boss smile—he comes as something of a bolt from the blue.

The bomb explodes, destroying Vegas and its technologically-proficient denizens, as well as Flagg (we think: see below), Trashcan Man himself, and our heroes. The explosion looks, to one character observing from afar, like the Hand of God come down to wreak vengeance. It’s also irony: in thinking that technology could save them, the Vegasians (Vegans?) are placing their faith in precisely what will destroy them.

So who’s Trashcan Man on Lost? (And do you see how the reappearance of the bomb was really not a surprise at all? Grrr.) After “Follow the Leader,” we’ve got a few candidates: Jack, Sayid, Richard, Eloise. Why not Daniel Faraday? Maybe Eloise told Widmore to revive him in the Temple while she took care of the bomb. (Then again: see below.) I’m leaning towards Jack: like Trashcan Man, he seems rather misdirected now that he’s on his new mission of “setting off hydrogen bombs and killing kids,” as Kate succinctly put it.

But maybe the bomb isn’t going to cause massive death and destruction: after all, it’s supposed to operate against whatever happens with the electromagnetism, so logically it would appear that the two are supposed to cancel each other out. In its own way, the transformation of King’s religious allegory into a scenario in which two equally powerful yet opposite forces transform themselves beautifully represent something that I’ll be talking a lot about in these reviews: intertextuality.

Intertextuality is a term coined by Julia Kristeva in 1966. She says that any one text is completely interdependent on all previous texts—not just allusion, but a complex interplay in which “bomb” ceases to mean just “bomb” but also denotes The Stand itself, the Christian allegory of that novel, the American experiments of the 1950s, the Manhattan Project, and so on. The intertext then becomes polysemic: it has many meanings, all branching off from each other into a variety of possible interpretations and readings. It’s like allusion on crack. Because any texts is “the absorption and transformation of another,” Lost then also forces us to re-read The Stand and all of its intertexts, almost like the way a new staging of a famous play like Hamlet can make us rethink some of the ideas that the text alone seemed to stand for. Because, after all, the text can’t stand alone. It’s not like cheese. Although both are tasty.

So, by having a bomb and pointing us in the direction of Trashcan Man, Darlton is forcing us to figure out the significance of the intertextuality goin’ on with The Stand. And by referencing the divine coincidence that The Stand depends on—the Hand of God that invisibly directs Trashcan Man to his ironic fate—Lost is pointing us towards its refusal to engage in a black-and-white (or red-and-white) world of moral absolutes. The Island will defend itself, probably. But God isn’t in the picture, so there’s no righteous death possible. The bomb won’t separate the goodies from the baddies. It will kill people.

But someone’s definitely going to roll that big boy into town, and something big is going to happen. I said above to “see below” about Flagg’s death at the Hand of God. It seems at first like everyone in Vegas dies, but the epilogue to the novel introduces us to a new incarnation of Randall Flagg, Russell Faraday. Russell Faraday is just as evil, although he seems to have forgotten most of his own backstory—we’d found out earlier that, old as he is, his memory is limited to about age that he appears to be. Russell Faraday is on an island, surrounded by rather primitive folks who seem both awed and threatened by him: think of the myth of the reactions of Native Americans to the Spanish, and that’s about how they feel. This is how the epilogue starts:

"He woke at dawn. He sat up and looked around himself. He was on a beach as white as bone. Above him, a ceramic sky of cloudless blue stood tall and far. Beyond him, a turquoise sea broke far out upon a reef and then came in gently…He got to his feet and almost fell…He turned around. Green jungle seemed to leap out at his eyes, a dark forested tangle of vines and broad leaves and lush, blooming flowers…"

And this is how it ends:

"Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long. And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again."

Russell Faraday isn’t killed, just blown through time and space to another time and space. His memory is a bit confused, but he knows enough to know he’s evil and going to conquer the inhabitants of the island.

But the same way that the Lost/The Stand intertext points us to the show’s refusal to deal in absolutes, Russell Faraday’s inherent evilness points out that our beloved Daniel Faraday isn’t evil at all—he’s done some bad things, but not on purpose. (And he looks like a kicked puppy when he cries.) However, while the intertext transforms our understanding of the Faradays, it doesn’t completely up-end them. There’s still, I think, a good chance that we’ll see the same transformation with Faraday that we’re going to see with the bomb: Daniel just might get blown back in time and revived, but probably won’t turn out evil. Our other heroes might get blown around, too. After all, it’s not just a hydrogen bomb, it’s a hydrogen bomb plus an electromagnetic incident.

And what about that last line? Should we worry that the final shot of the final episode of Lost will be of Jack waking up in the jungle near a pretty dog? Probably not. After all, intertextuality is about transformation, not repetition. Life can be a wheel and circularity might be the name of the game, but nothing about the way that Lost is transforming The Stand points to imitation.

Fun Facts About The Stand:

• It was originally published in 1978 with over 500 pages of material cut for commercial reasons. The “complete and uncut edition” came out in 1991, and it’s the one you’re likely to find in most bookstores.

• The TV movie is pretty damn awesome, and has made me a lifelong fan of Blue Oyster Cult. Rent it this summer. It’s worth it.

• A huge theme in The Stand is self-sacrifice—indeed, it engages in some intertextual transformation of the Gospels. Nick Andros, whose name points to Santa Claus and the Greek word for Man, sacrifices himself to save his compatriots, as do the men who travel to Vegas. Having numerous characters who might stand for Jesus is interesting to consider in light of the Jack/John question: is either one a savior? Can they both be?

• Randall Flagg is in more than one Stephen King book. And the universe of The Stand is acknowledged to exist on an alternate timeline than other very similar universes (that is, ones that contain a 20th century America) in Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in The Dark Tower series.

The Stand probably isn’t the best place to start if you’re interested in starting to read Stephen King. (Although, in rough economic times, the dollar-spent to hours-wasted ratio is pretty good.) I’d start with ‘Salem’s Lot.

• There are now comic books that somehow relate to The Stand. Haven’t read ‘em.

Okay, so I just watched the season finale. Is this relevant? What’s crazy is that I just don’t know…

*More on the Crimson King, and the White and the Red, in my reviews of The Dark Tower series.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Dude, the ending for Lost has taken things to a whole new level. Its reminded of the play, Waiting for Godat - which was about two men having an argument about God, good and evil (sort of). Won't say more otherwise I'd be giving too much away.

  2. Sorry I meant Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.

  3. This is a really amazing kick-off review for "Lost Lit". And I've read "The Stand" more than once, so I understand what you're talking about. (Although if you're new to King, I think I'd recommend "The Shining" before "'Salem's Lot". Only because I liked "The Shining" a lot more.)

    It seems to me that the only answer is that our group of characters *have* to get blown *somewhere*. Either that, or they'll have to make serious casting changes. Or make all of season six a flashback.

    It's hard for me to see Jack as Trashcan man, or in that role, even though he did end up all beat up and bringing them the bomb. Sayid feels a lot more like Trash. Jack actually feels a lot like Stu, and Kate like Franni.

    I can tell I'm going to be thinking about this one for awhile.

  4. I like "The Stand" a lot, too. As always you did a great job in comparing it with LOST. That was an eyeopener. :)
    But I think, Juliet is Trashcan man. In a very twisted way, though. Jack was bringing the bomb, but Juliet removes all the obstacles in the way, so it would explode. She was just acting because of her previous experience with love and lost. Iconically Juliet was more than a bystander in the past. Now she became the hand of fate.

  5. Great first book review, Josie. I really enjoyed it. And now I feel bad for not using more literary analysis terms in my reviews. :)

    I like the idea of Juliet as the Trashcan Man. But I definitely see a bit of Jack in that role, too. I don't see Kate and Frannie. It may fit, I just can't reconcile my dislike of Kate with my love for Frannie.

    I vote for Locke as Nadine and maybe Ben as Harold. Locke just keeps getting drawn to the dark side, even though he wants to be good, and Ben just wants to fit in and be the chosen one. I suppose Ben could also fit with Lloyd.

    So who does that make Sawyer? Is he Larry? I guess Charlie could fit with Nick. This is kind of fun.

    Again, great thoughts, Josie. I'm looking forward to the next book review.

  6. Fantastic review, Josie. I'll look forward to coming back and reading it again once they screen the finale in New Zealand in a couple of weeks.

  7. Some great thoughts here...although I really hope Lost has a better ending than The Stand did. Actually, it wasn't so much the ending as the massive buildup which the ending couldn't sustain. Stephen King has long had a problem with decent endings though!

  8. Great insights. I've always loved The Stand, but found many aspects in the second half irritating. I'm going to re-read it this summer to see what I missed.

    "Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long. And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again."

    Life as a wheel is one of our oldest metaphors--appearing throughout our myriad mythologies and oral traditions. The sacred circle with no beginning and no end. It can be beautiful and give hope, as in the circle of life (think Aaron being born as Boone dies). But it can also be grim and depressing, as in being doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past (and our ancestors). I wonder which way Lost is going to go?

    I also couldn't help but think of the (real) pilot of Firefly, when Mal tells Badger "The wheel never stops turning," and Badger replies, "That only matters to the people on the rim."

    If you are interested in a novel dealing with the vagaries of time travel, you might want to read Dean Kootz's Lightning (one of the few good books he's ever written). I could make it relate to Lost, but my semester just ended and I'm brain-fried. The one quote from the book that comes to mind is "Destiny struggles to re-assert the pattern that is meant to be." Seems relevant.

  9. Dean Koontz's "Lightning" is one of my absolute favorite time travel novels, Anonymous, and definitely Koontz's best, although I think "Watchers" is nearly as good. Just had to pipe up there.

  10. This was a good read. I just finished The Stand last month, but I hadn't even thought of possible connections to Lost.

    Looking forward to this Lost Lit series, especially the Dark Tower books, another story where the "Wheel of Life/Time/Ka" theme plays a major role.

  11. I'm really glad you guys are recommending Koontz books. I read a few when I was just a wee thing, and loved them, but all of his books that I've read since then have been hands-down awful. I'll pick up Lightning and Watchers (I need a new book).

  12. Hi Josie,

    Sounds like you've had a similar experience to me. I used to love his stuff. Then I hit Midnight...and the one that came after it (The Bad Place?)...and I fell out of love with him. Watchers is brilliant though...as is Strangers (kind of like Koontz's version of "It").


  13. I haven't watched Lost yet - I usually wait until the entire season is done and then watch them all - but I share similar thoughs as you regarding Stephen King. Actually, now that I think about it, I agree with you, Josie, on almost everything. Its like someone with writing skills took the words right out of my brain.

    I just wanted to say I'm really excited that people who have the same tv taste as me are recommending books. I love books, I feel like not enough people read them.

    BTW, 'Salems Lot is, bar none, the scariest book I've ever read. I read it freshman year of college for this awesome Lit class on Vampire Lore, and I swear I slept with the lights on and the windows closed all summer.

  14. I've never read The Stand, anything by Stephen King, or, if i'm honest, any books that could be viewed as part of the horror gendre at all (unless you count the Point Horror books), but i gotta admit i'm now very tempted. It sounds like any Lost fan would get alot out of it.

    p.s Serena+ Pumpkin, can i just say that i am a little bit jealous that you had a vampire lore class. The literature classes i took weren't nearly as imaginative.

  15. Jo - Trust me, I've never heard of another class nearly as interesting, either again at my school or my friends' schools. I was just super-lucky. Plus it counted towards my English requirement!

    If anyone ever wants to discuss some theories re: vampire lore and its symbolism, let me know. FWIW, I wrote a paper for the class comparing vampirism to trashy historical novels :-)

  16. Serena, I call them "trashy historical novels," too. Either it's an official genre term that hasn't made it into the mainstream yet, or some sort of Vulcan mind meld.

    I have to admit that this entire comments thread is making me unbearably happy. Books! Books! Books!

  17. Josie - I swear you're my long lost twin! Can you recommend any good books that don't require brain power but isn't like Mary Higgins Clark stupid?

  18. I should warn you, Serena, that most people who make the mistake of asking me for a book recommendation start regretting it months down the line, when I'm still ramming books into their hands and shouting, "Read it now! Now!"

    Having said that, yours is tough question to answer. You mentioned J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts in the above post, and Mary Higgins Clark in this one, so I should probably let you know that (for reasons as yet undiscovered by me) I tend not to read many female writers. Jhumpa Lahiri is a noted exception, and I would strongly recommend her book of short stories, "Interpreter of Maladies." It's the best thing I've read in a long, long time. If you like Lahiri, Zadie Smith's "White Teeth" might be your cup of tea, as well. It's a Dickensian romp through modern-day multicultural England.

    For more fun, less emotional writing, Brad Meltzer is neat. He also writes comics, and you can tell when you read his novels that he thinks in panels, not chapters.

    I just finished John Connelly's "The Book of Lost Things," which is ostensibly a young adult novel, but is really, really good. Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Shadow of the Wind" and "Angel's Game" (available any day now in English) are quite good as well: all three of those books are about the power of literature in the process of growing up.

    Patricia Cornwell writes forensic mysteries with a female protagonist. You'll want to start with her first one, as otherwise they'll be horrifically confusing. She pretty much started the whole CSI craze. I've read a few of the books by Kathy Reichs, on which the TV series Bones is based, and they're not bad. They're brain-candy: tasty but ultimately forgettable.

    Sharon Kay Penman is my favorite trashy historical novelist. (I'm desperately trying to think of more women!). Sex, love, tears, and conquest in medieval England and France: what's not to love?

    Katherine Neville's book "The Eight" is really great; her other books are more or less awful (I haven't read the latest yet). It's a "literary thriller" a la the Da Vinci code, but with fewer errors and more sex.

    And, as always, Stephen King.

  19. Josie - I don't always read female authors, but thanks for the consideration. I do find female authors to be the best at trashy romances... I mean, who else could write them?

    I *do* tend to be a bit of a serial-junkie, but there are some one offs that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the types of shows reviewed here (as well as the reviewers' insights):

    - Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn. Amazing, but really, don't read it while you're eating.

    - Confessions of Max Tivoli. Unfortunately, Brad Pitt massacred a similarly themed book with Benjamin Button, but its really worth reading.

    - In the trashy/historical/not necessarily romance area, Borgia Bride is fun and twisted, a la Philippa Gregory.

    - Finally, I urge you to check out the In Death series. It gets rather bloated by book 15 (they are quick reads), they're fun and mindless. FWIW, I'm not a big Nora Roberts fan.

    Oh, and I *hated* DaVinci code. Honestly one of the worst novels ever written - sluggish, plotless, with nothing holding it together except its exposition.

    PS - Sorry to everyone else that this has become a book list!

  20. Excellent review! I have never read The Stand, but I enjoyed the comparisons to it and LOST. I have always wondered if the books on LOST relate/contribute to the show at all. I have only read a few mentioned. I look forward to your upcoming views. You are really good a writing intellectually. You and Bille MUST be related...

  21. What a pretty extensive review (and comparison) you made here. It's pretty excellent actually.

  22. Hi, Josie

    This review(s) were one of the reasons I started reading Stephen King. This and the arrival of a paperback collection of SK in English at a big bookstore there is here in São Paulo. I wouldn't want to read a translation, and these books are usually expensive, too.

    Anyway, I bought Misery, read it and loved it. And then The Mist and also liked it a lot. That lead to the decision of starting to read The Stand, in spite of the fact that I watched the miniseries and hated, hated, hated it. It is one of the cheesiest and worst directed things I've ever seen. And I had a hard time believing King himself had adapted it, considering I found his script for Pet Sematary terrific. The Stand as was filmed almost put me off from reading SK altogether.

    So far I've read The Stand through Chapter 10 and I can already see many themes and narrative techniques in common with LOST, and why they always have this book in the writers' room to help them when they're stuck.

    First, there's the obvious fact there's no protagonist, so the multi-angle narrative, with focus on one character or one group at a time, one of the reasons I think LOST works so well compared to shows like Heroes, where they try (or tried, as it seems) to cram all the characters into the narratives and some of them showed up for just about one scene.

    Second, there's the story of a group gathered by extraordinary circumstances, and how their past relates to what they go through after the disaster,giving them a sense of purpose.

    And finally, and more important, the theme of change. Peter Goldsmith says that his wife hasn't changed since the loss of their son. Stu Redman thought about moving after losing all he had in Arnette, and had a chance of change but he felt stuck to his town. And one part of the book striked me as something that sheds light on the whole story and on LOST as well:

    "She (Alice Underwood) also thought there was good in Larry, great good. It was there, but this late on it would take a catastrophe to bring it out" (Chapter 5, at about the end of the last page)

    The characters were too old to let go of what they had, making impossible for them to move on and change. Jack couldn't leave his father's shadow. Kate was on an endless run. Sawyer was conning and seeking revenge. Locke couldn't get past what his father had done to him. Charlie was trapped by drugs and the illusion of the band being his salvation. Sun refused to leave her husband, even when she had the perfect opportunity for that. Hurley wanted to keep his suckey life even after winning the lottery. Claire was about to have her life changed forever, but was ready to give the baby up so she could keep her life. It took a catastrophe to deviate their courses, quite literally. And that resonates what Jacob said "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress." Progress is change, and, if it adds up, Jacob wants to bring out the good person in all our Losties. I'm sure he has already achieved that with Sawyer.

    I'll post further thoughts as I read on. Hope the length of the post hasn't put you off.

  23. Gustavo,

    So my evil plan to convert the world to Stephen King is finally paying off! I'm so glad that you're enjoying his work.

    I've been debating finishing off the Dark Tower reviews (they're extremely difficult to write, hence the delay). I think your comment has inspired me--I wonder if I can make it happen before 02.02.2010?

  24. Josey,

    Since The Dark Tower series is next in line after The Shining, I'd prefer if you hold off your reviews so I can comment more quickly than I have here.(Just kidding, a writer's pace must be respected).

    And you should be proud of your converting me. I majored in French and Brazilian Literature, therefore I've read some of the greatest authors ever. It's hard to please me in literature. :)

  25. Gustavo,

    It doesn't surprise me that you like King if you're a fan of French Lit--he's very Balzac. Then again, he's not very Proust, so I suppose it depends on which era you like most. (And re-reading the Song of Roland before starting the Dark Tower is a definite must.)

    The only Brazilian author I've ever read is Lispector's (Hour of the Star). Horrifyingly depressing. I'd rather read about a terrible plague that wipes out 99% of humanity.

    I'm also amazed that I've only read one Brazilian author. That's pathetic. Any suggestions?

  26. I like both Balzac and Proust.

    About Lispector, Hour of the star is relatively cheerful compared to some of her other works. I was going to recommend you Moacyr Scliar, but I checked and his best works are not available in English. The best author we've had is Machado de Assis, and if you can get a hold of Dom Casmurro or The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas, they're masterpieces, the former being one of my favorite books ever. Erico Verissimo's Incident in Antares is a book you'll definitely love. Foreigners like the works of Jorge Amado, too, although he's not that respected here.

    But, whatever you do, stay away from Paulo Coelho. He's as close to self-help a novelist can be. It's not a puzzle to Brazilian literates why he's so successful, but we can't wrap our minds around the fact that the French love him. Some say the translator to French "fixes" the books as s/he translates them.

    The poetry here has almost always been stronger than our fiction. Maybe that's why we're not so famous as a literate country.

  27. Thank you! I'll check some of those out. My library does have a book of Scliar's short stories in English, and El ejército de un solo hombre in Spanish, so I might actually start there.

  28. Thank you! I'll check some of those out. My library does have a book of Scliar's short stories in English, and El ejército de un solo hombre in Spanish, so I might actually start there.


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