The Sixty-Five Years of Washington

The Sixty-Five Years of Washington

by Juan José Saer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


This entire novel consists of a discussion between two friends—one who just returned from Europe, the other a young accountant—about a grand birthday party neither one was able to attend. This doesn't stop them from swapping stories and hypotheses, which balloon into a riveting depiction of the complexities of life, especially at the dawn of

Overview


This entire novel consists of a discussion between two friends—one who just returned from Europe, the other a young accountant—about a grand birthday party neither one was able to attend. This doesn't stop them from swapping stories and hypotheses, which balloon into a riveting depiction of the complexities of life, especially at the dawn of Argentina's Dirty War.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Argentinian Saer (1937–2005) sets his novel during a walk through the streets of a seaside Argentinian city in the early '60s with a conversation comprising memories, images, and digressions in the mode of Proust and Laurence Sterne. Two characters meet in the street and walk together while discussing Washington Noriega's 65th birthday party, which neither of them attended. The elegant aristocratic Mathematician missed the soiree because he was in Europe; the plebeian Angel Leto wasn't invited. The two men veer off topic to consider the behavior of mosquitoes and whether a horse can stumble, frivolous subjects that contrast with visions of Argentina's harsh political turmoil that would occur in the near future when the mathematician's wife will be killed and Leto will disappear, suicide pill in hand. Saer reaches deep into the psychology of his characters, yet for all his skill, the streams of consciousness become arduous as does identifyingwith the characters on an emotional level. Think Berman film, difficult but worth the effort. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"In this brilliant novel, the Argentine writer Saer packs several decades of his country’s history into a single hour ... With meticulous prose, rendered by Dolph’s translation into propulsive English, Saer’s novel captures the wilderness of human experience in all its variety, as well as the “blind, incomprehensible, ceaseless drift” of time."—Jascha Hoffman, The New York Times

"The Sixty-Five Years of Washington is worth working through—not only for the richness of its content but also because the effort itself is what gives us a three-dimensional understanding of its themes."—Suzanne Marie Hopcroft, The Rogue Idea

"...Phenomenal, demonstrating a dazzling unification of form and function."—Scott Bryan Wilson, Rain Taxi

"But while some of those sentences are long enough to rival Proust’s, they are infused with a palpitating sensuality, their breathing equally crafted. A cerebral explorer of the problems of narrative in the wake of Joyce and Woolf, of Borges, Rulfo and Arlt, Saer is also a stunning poet of place."—Lorna Scott Fox, The Nation

Library Journal
Instead of going to work one October day in 1961, Ángel Leto, a bookkeeper at a chemical company, decides to get off the bus and just start walking. Along the way, he meets the Mathematician, an engineer at the company, and they start discussing the 65th birthday party of famous politician Jorge Washington Noriega (hence the title), which neither attended. The novel's three parts, covering seven blocks each, alternate between the events of the walk (interrupted by mundane occurrences like a near-miss with a bicyclist) and the chronicling of the party. By tossing us more details about the present (Leto's care for his cancerous mother) and the future (the assassination of the Mathematician's wife during the repressive 1970s), the author compresses all actions—past, present, and future—into this one-hour walk. Though not very much happens, the power of this work is in the narrative, which emphasizes the literary importance of discourse, be it oral, written, or thought. One should keep in mind that the Spanish title, Glosa, more accurately identifies the narrative's purpose as a "gloss" of the events. VERDICT A rewarding read from the prize-winning Saer, his fifth novel to appear in English (after The Witness), best read in one sitting.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934824207
Publisher:
Open Letter
Publication date:
11/28/2010
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author


Juan José Saer was the leading Argentinian writer of the post-Borges generation. The author of numerous novels and short-story collections (including Scars and La Grande), Saer was awarded Spain’s prestigious Nadal Prize in 1987 for The Event.

Steve Dolph is the founder of Calque, a journal of literature in translation. His translation of Juan José Saer's Scars was a finalist for the 2012 Best Translated Book Award.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >