Imagining Argentina

Imagining Argentina

by Lawrence Thornton
     
 

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Imagining Argentina is set in the dark days of the late 1970's, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general's prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda's wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of "the disappeared." But he

Overview

Imagining Argentina is set in the dark days of the late 1970's, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general's prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda's wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of "the disappeared." But he cannot "imagine" what has happened to his own wife. Driven to near madness, his mind cannot be taken away: imagination, stories, and the mystical secrets of the human spirit.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A harrowing, brilliant  novel."—The New Yorker.

"A  powerful new novel... Thorton seems to have wedded  his study of such writers as Borges and Marquez  with thy his own instinctive gift for metaphor, and  in doing so, created his own brand of magical  realism"—The New York  Times.

"Remarkable... Deeply  inventive... Thorton has imagined Argentina truly; his  inspired fable troubles and feeds our own intriguing  imagining."—Los Angeles  Times.

"Imagining Argentina is a  slim volume filled with beautiful writing. It is  an exciting adventure story. It is a haunting love  story. And it is a story for all  time."—Detroit Free  Press.

"The writing is crystalline, the  metaphors compelling... Its central theme is  universal."—The Philadelphia  Inquirer.

"In a time when much North  American fiction is contained by crabbed realism,  Thorton takes for his material one of the bleaker  recent instances of human cruelty, sees in it the  enduring nobility of the human spirit and imagines a  book that celebrates that  spirit."—The Washington Post Book World.  

"A powerful first  novel and a manifesto for the memorializing power of  literature."—The New York Times  Book Review.

"A  profoundly hopeful book."—The Cleveland  Plain Dealer

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This astonishingly proficient and gripping first novel should be required reading for anyone who calls him or herself a responsible citizen. Not only is it masterfully written, with images as sharp as shards of broken glass, but it also carries a message so potent it burns into the conscience. Set in Buenos Aires during the rule of the generals and their brutal policy of abducting and obliterating those who opposed them, the narrative tells of playwright Carlos Rueda, who suddenly finds himself with the power to ``see'' the disappeared ones and their fates. In the tradition of magical realism, by rendering almost palpable the sense of unreality that bizarre events evoke, Thornton makes Carlos's gift entirely convincing. Carlos's power announces itself when his journalist wife Cecilia is abducted; he uses it to bring news of their loved ones to the courageous mothers who march in the Plaza de Mayo in an effort to make the generals acknowledge their missing kin. Thornton conveys the fates of the disappeared in hauntingly credible scenes, at the same time providing a mesmerizing portrait of the xenophobic ideology that allows the generals to commit any brutality in the name of patriotism. In spite of his personal tragedy, which is compounded by two additional bitter blows, Carlos's faith in the power of reason remains strong. ``There are two Argentinas,'' he says,``the regime's travesty of it, and the one we have in our hearts.'' Eventually the pure power of his imagination wins out over the obscene power of the ruling junta; the generals flee and some of the ``disappeareds'' come home. ``It is not often that you see life and fiction take each other by the hand and dance,'' says this novel's narrator. The judge at the trial of the generals cries out: ``Nunca mas!'' Thornton's achievement is to make us see the power inherent in books such as this one, books that carry a message of hope to those who will read, believe, act and survive. (September)
Library Journal
During the recent military rule in Argentina, outspoken journalist Cecilia Rueda is among the ``disappeared,'' one of the thousands of prisoners tortured and frequently murdered by a regime that then denies their existence. After her disappearance, Cecilia's playwright husband Carlos discovers that he has a gift: when someone recounts the last known details of a disappeared, Carlos sees that person's present situation in a vision that released prisoners verify as accurate. Narrated by the Ruedas' friend, Martin Benn, in whose terse style both atrocities and surreal tales are effectively conveyed, this work has valid moral groundsfaith in the imagination's ability to sustain lifethat nevertheless cannot undermine the horrors of material reality that Benn describes. Mollie Brodsky, English Dept., Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553345797
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1991
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
336,323
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)

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