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Love in Any Language: Translation Gives Latin Classic New Life
May 02, 2008 (08:05 AM EDT)

COLUMBIA, S.C., May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A celebrated Latin American classic is being shared with English readers for the first time with the release of Noe A. Vaca's translation of Juan Leon Mera's Ecuadorian love story "Cumanda."

More than a century after the original was written, Vaca's translation, titled "Cumanda: The Novel of the Ecuadorian Jungle" (published by AuthorHouse -- ), recreates Mera's tale of star-crossed lovers, staged in the lush Amazon jungle. A national treasure in Vaca's native Ecuador, "Cumanda" is widely considered one of the most important novels in 19th-century Latin American literature. "Cumanda: The Novel of the Ecuadorian Jungle" delivers to English readers the same striking imagery and exotic characters that made the original unforgettable to generations of South Americans.

When revolts by indigenous tribes in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador, destroy the goods and family of Juan Domingo Orosco, the rancher decides to dedicate the remainder of his life to God. Left with only his son, Carlos, Orosco becomes a Spanish Dominican friar, working among the native people of the jungle. Soon Carlos becomes bewitched by the beautiful Cumanda, a young woman from an Amazonian tribe. Opposed by many, including Cumanda's father, the couple bravely defends their unique love for one another until Cumanda, forced to marry a Jivaro chief in order to spare the life of Carlos, is sacrificed according to the customs of the tribe. However, it is ultimately exposed that Cumanda and Carlos are in fact brother and sister. In another turn, Cumanda's father, the man who kidnapped the girl and killed her natural mother (Orosco's wife), is converted to Christianity by none other than Orosco.

Within the dramatic-tragedy's electrifying plot, readers will find a thoughtful examination of race relations and the assimilation of the indigenous people of Ecuador to a Christian-based society, along with an exploration of the sacred bond shared between siblings.

Vaca was born, raised and educated in Ecuador where he became an elementary school teacher at 19. There he also coached the school's soccer and basketball teams, led a Boy Scout troop and founded an acrobat squad. Vaca moved to New York in 1969, and after his marriage, relocated to his wife's home state of South Carolina in 1975. Now working in retail, Vaca enjoys writing short stories and translating and interpreting English and Spanish.

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EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact: Elizabeth Hollingsworth, Publicity Coordinator Tel: 800-839-8640, ext. 5278 Fax: 812-961-3133 Email: (When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.)

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CONTACT: Elizabeth Hollingsworth, Publicity Coordinator of AuthorHouse,, ext. 5278, Fax: +1-812-961-3133,

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