The Sixty-Five Years of Washington

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.
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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.
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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.)
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
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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.

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