Artificial Respiration

Artificial Respiration

by Ricardo Piglia
     
 

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Acclaimed as one of the most important Latin American novels in recent decades, Artificial Respiration is a stunning introduction for English readers to the fiction of Ricardo Piglia. Published in Argentina in 1981, it was written at a time when thousands of Argentine citizens "disappeared" during the government’s attempt to create an

Overview

Acclaimed as one of the most important Latin American novels in recent decades, Artificial Respiration is a stunning introduction for English readers to the fiction of Ricardo Piglia. Published in Argentina in 1981, it was written at a time when thousands of Argentine citizens "disappeared" during the government’s attempt to create an authoritarian state. In part a reflection on one of the most repressive and tragic times in Argentine history, this is one of those rare works of fiction in which multiple philosophical, political, and narrative dimensions are all powerfully and equally matched.
As a prize winning detective novel, Artificial Respiration reaches through many levels of mystery to explore the forces that have been at play in Argentina throughout its violent history. The narrator, a writer named Renzi, begins to look for an uncle who has vanished, a man he knows only through a web of contradictory family stories and an exchange of letters. Through these letters he learns about his uncle’s research into the life of Enrique Ossario, secretary to the 19th-century Argentine dictator Rosas and spy for the dictator’s enemy. As Renzi’s search leads further into his uncle’s work and to conversations with his literary and chess-playing friends, the reader is led by Piglia to consider the nature of Argentine identity, its literature and history, and its relation, for example, to Europe, exile, and democracy. Finally, and made most vividly appreciable by the retelling of a story in which Kafka meets Hitler, it is the encounter between literature and history that is explored.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sometime ago I wrote in the New York Times Book Review that it was a shame that Artificial Respiration by Ricardo Piglia, one of the most important Latin American novels of the last decade, was unavailable in English. Now it can finally be read, enjoyed, and celebrated by readers in this country. It will be an intellectual experience you will never forget"—Ariel Dorfman
Library Journal
Marcelo marries a wealthy woman with a weak heart and absconds six months later with all her money, going off to live with a cabaret dancer named Coca. Then, when Marcelo is spending three years in prison, Coca sends checks to Marcelo's wife to repay the money he stole. The wife confesses in a letter found after her death that she lied and had never been robbed. Years later, Marcelo's nephew, Renzi, publishes a novel with this unlikely plot and is contacted by his uncle. So begins a communication between estranged relatives that culminates in Renzi's search for the real story behind his uncle's disappearance and subsequent life and his research into the life of Enrique Ossa rio, government official and spy. Winner of the Casa de las Amricas award after its 1981 publication in Argentina, this novel is the first work by Piglia to be translated into English. The masterful translation thoughtfully includes a notes section explaining Argentine references. For collections of international fiction.-Peggy Partello, Keene State Coll., N.H.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822314141
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
03/11/1994
Series:
Latin America in Translation
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
865,359
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author

Ricardo Piglia currently lives in Argentina and is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories, for which he won the Casa de las Américas Prize. Artificial Respiration is his first book in English. His other books have been translated into Portuguese, French, Italian, and German. Daniel Balderston is Professor and Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University and author of Out of Context: Historical Reference and the Representation of Reality in Borges, also published by Duke University Press.

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