Reyes, Emma (Author/Memoirist) & Alarcon, Daniel (Translator). THE BOOK OF EMMA REYES: A MEMOIR. New York City, NY: Penguin Classics, 2018. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 195 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's memoir. One of the most important literary discoveries of our time. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only that sold out shortly after publication. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Emma Reyes' "Memoria por correspondencia" in a felicitous - and highly acclaimed - translation by Daniel Alarcon, the brilliant Peruvian-American novelist, who also wrote a moving Introductory Essay. Literally, a memoir in epistolary form although Alarcon has re-titled it in English more definitively as The (that is, Her) Book. "Hailed as an instant classic when it was first published in Colombia in 2012, nearly a decade after the death of its author in 2003. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing. Emma Reyes was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogota with no water or toilet, and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a Catholic convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, sewed garments and decorative cloths for the nuns - and lived in fear of the Devil. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually establishing a career as an artist and befriending the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as European artists and intellectuals. The portrait of her childhood that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a writer whose talent remained hidden for too long" (Publisher's blurb). The tears must flow even if (or precisely because) Emma Reyes writes unsentimentally. An absolute "must-have" title for Emma Reyes and Daniel Alarcon collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in blue pen-marker on the title page by Daniel Alarcon. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. It comes with a pristine copy of the Souvenir Announcement of the event during which his signature was obtained. This title is a great book. This is one of few such signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. One of the most valuable literary discoveries of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER DANIEL ALARCON TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0143108689. $50.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on October 17, 2019.