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This report is taken from PN Review 240, Volume 44 Number 4, March - April 2018.

El Galeón Moya Cannon
‘The Infinite Bookshop’, my guide, the gracious journalist, calls it – a converted cinema on a square in the old part of Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. On the entrance level, where giddy children and young spruced-up lovers used once to queue for movie tickets, the walls are lined with fine, leather-bound volumes. We are warmly greeted by the bookseller Roberto Cataldo. He is genial, stocky, with longish grey hair. The slim, slightly worried-looking woman at the desk might be his wife. Having admired the neatly arrayed antiquarian books, we are led down an angled staircase to the next floor where the books, mainly cloth-bound hardbacks and paperbacks, are a little less ordered. There are also odd pieces of old photographic and cinema ephemera at the bottom of the stairs. Here we are shown a first edition of Onetti, one of Uruguay’s great writers. Cataldo also has first editions of Jorge Luis Borges, a letter from the Peruvian poet Caesar Vallejo, a manuscript poem by the Spanish film director Luis Buñuel and a poster for the Football World Cup from 1930.

We are led down a little further and we look into the cinema proper – the inside-out galleon, the structure of the cinema virtually intact, the blank screen sagging, the back and side galleries lined, not with film-goers impatiently waiting for the hum and flicker that would promise to transport them to worlds of glamour and daring, but with silent bookcase after bookcase, each over-filled with books, the floors in front of them virtually impassable due to ...


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