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Body Snatcher

Body Snatcher

by Juan Carlos Onetti, Alfred M. Adam (Translator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like a South American Faulkner, Uruguayan novelist Onetti uses interior monologues and shifting points of view to evoke the moral devastation of a provincial town. When a bordello opens in Santa Maria, the townsfolk mount a ``holy war,'' yet the whores in this rich, reflective novel command far more sympathy than do the town's ``decent'' citizens. Jorge, a rebellious adolescent and aspiring poet, breathes contempt for his respectable father, who rents the house of ill repute to Mr. Larsen (aka Body Snatcher), a pimp and bookkeeper. Larsen cloaks his hardened cynicism in romantic dreams and self-delusions. Jorge's lover, Julita, his brother's widow, pretends that Jorge is her dead husband. All the main characters live on lies; their dreams and schemes are a recipe for tragedy. First published in the mid-1960s and now in its first English translation, this masterful novel ranks with the fictions of Puig, Cortazar and Marquez. His serpentine lyricism tempered by whiplash irony, Onetti is an elegist of the 20th century, its neuroses, sexual represession, mafias, anti-Semitism, office time-clocks and terminal lives. (May)
Library Journal
This powerful work by Uraguayan writer Onetti is a significant contribution to the art of Latin American fiction. Set in the fictional provincial town of Santa Maria, the novel centers around two stories. The first tells of the founding of the ``perfect brothel'' by Larsen, or Body Snatcher, as he is known. When permission is granted by the city council for the establishment of a legal brothel, the Snatcher is called upon, only to encounter animosity and rejection from the town's people. The other story revolves around Julita, a demented widow who takes the younger brother of her late husband as her lover. This novel illustrates a viewpoint typical in the work of Onetti, as the characters strive to achieve perfection but are prevented by circumstances from doing so. The heterogeneous cast of characters is large and linked only by circumstance and serendipity. This is not merely a good book but represents an important addition to English scholarship in the literature of Latin America. Highly recommended.-- Mary Molinaro, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Vintage International ed
Product dimensions:
5.23(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.67(d)

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