Fiction. Translated for the Spanish by Rob Gunther. DRUMS FOR A LOST SONG, Jorge Velasco Mackenzie's tale of José Margarito,"the Singer," escaping from slavery in nineteenth-century Ecuador, combines elements of Ecuadorean history, magic realism, and the African Yoru pursued through the landscape and the towns of coastal Ecuador by his master, Captain Manda. The narrative ranges through an array of adventures historical and otherwise: from the 16th century shipwreck that established a settlement of runaway slaves, to an escape via submarine, Ecuador's civil wars, the tale of the goddess Iris and meetings with the gods; a great banquet; and the return of Halley's Comet. In DRUMS FOR A LOST SONG we encounter the cruelty of slavery, the exhilaration of adventure, dialogue that makes characters come to life, and the possibility that Margarito's song—embodied in his story—may not be lost forever.
Jorge Velasco Mackenzie has written many novels and short story collections. His honors, in Ecuador, include the Premio Nacional de Novela "Grupo de Quayaquil."Author City: ECU