Customer Reviews for

The Story of the Night

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005

    A Timelessly Important Yet Also A Timely Novel

    2005 and Argentina has just revoked amnesty for those responsible for the brutality and occult treachery of the Dirty War that ended with the overthrow of the military junta with the British defeat of Argentina's forces over the Falkland Islands. And it is during this closure of a long suppressed circle that Colm Toibin's superb 1995 book THE STORY OF THE NIGHT comes back into circulation. By all means read this book now not only to celebrate Toibin's genius but also to gain valuable insight into a political intrigue that has smoldered in Argentina for the past thirty years!Toibin conjoins the tale of a young lad Richard Garay, the son of a haughty British mother and an Argentine man whose childhood is disrupted by loss of income and instability of social presence, with the general social and political upheaval in Argentina). Richard moves from poverty and the death of his parents to teaching English in Buenos Aires and eventually comes into contact with an American couple Donald and Susan Ford who draw him into their hazy presence in the realm of political coups as an interpreter. Through them he works to gain acceptance of the powerful Canetto family: the father wants to become President of the nascent democracy after the Falklands War has rid the country of the Generals. Richard is a man in conflict: he envies the wealthy, he is gay, and he embodies the state of mind of surviving with a day persona of longing for order and rank which is antagonistic to his night persona of craving passion.Through a series of twists of fate Richard gradually comes into money by way of the prelude to oil privatization and after unsatisfying attempts at mating he finds love in Pablo Canetto, a handsome man who has likewise hidden his true identity from his family by fleeing to San Francisco's atmosphere. The development of this profound love between Richard and Pablo, threatened as it is by nearly every aspect of life in Buenos Aires, forms the substance of this novel, that substance eloquently exploring the spectrum of love and loss as beautifully as any romance in literature.Colm Toibin is a master storyteller and one who has obviously scrupulously researched the time frame he has chosen for his novel. Every character is painted well, there being no extraneous moments that are not additive to the story. Toibin's prose is liquid and ravishingly beautiful and he is unafraid to present intimate physical encounters, knowing exactly how much to say without offending the senses of anyone. This richly historic novel ends in a microcosm of a romance: the 'desaparecidos' of the dirty war are mirrored in the equally plangent wake of AIDS. The story is superb, the introduction to a heretofore vague history of South American coups is fascinatingly related, and above it all is the magic of Toibin's impeccable prose. This is a book to read again and again. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 05

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    Posted February 4, 2014

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    Posted September 20, 2010

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