The Witness

The Witness

5.0 1
by Juan Jose Saer
     
 

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“The evocative imagery and ideas revealed in The Witness are not easily forgotten.”—Washington Times

“Haunting and beautifully written.”—Independent on Sunday

In sixteenth-century Spain, a cabin boy sets sail on a ship bound for the New World. An inland expedition ends in disaster when the group is

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Overview

“The evocative imagery and ideas revealed in The Witness are not easily forgotten.”—Washington Times

“Haunting and beautifully written.”—Independent on Sunday

In sixteenth-century Spain, a cabin boy sets sail on a ship bound for the New World. An inland expedition ends in disaster when the group is attacked by Indians.

The Witness explores the relationship between existence and description, foreignness and cultural identity.

Juan José Saer was born in Argentina in 1937 and is considered one of Argentina’s leading writers of the post-Borges generation. He died in 2005.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best-known of [Juan Jose] Saer’s works in Argentina is The Witness, another faux-historical novel that enacts the 'speculative anthropology' he thought fiction should undertake. Formally innovative as ever, this tremendous novel sets lived time against book time, so that the longer the period covered, the shorter the account…"—The Nation
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A 15-year-old cabin boy, en route from Spain to the New World in the 16th century, is the sole survivor of a raid in a remote part of the world. He lives with his Indian captors for a decade and witnesses their annual cannibalistic festivals. The Indians hunt their prey from surrounding tribes or explorers' expeditions, then roast and eat it with a combination of obsessive desire and apprehension. Then the tribe drinks to excess and falls into an uncharacteristic orgy from which it spends lethargic months recuperating. But perhaps most odd, the raiding parties always leave one survivor, def-ghi. The word means many things, including scout or a thing reflected in water. For the Indians, an existentially insecure lot whose word for ``to be'' is most nearly translated ``to seem,'' def-ghi affirms their existence--cannibalism roots the tribe in its history as the visitor bears witness. This is a lyric meditation on the reification of our shadowy world through ``assiduous memories that cannot always be grasped.'' Argentinian-born Saer's first book to appear here contains none of the usual heroes or conventions. It's a swashbuckling philosophical treatise that combines anthropology, semiotics and a dose of cannibal gore. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781846686917
Publisher:
Serpent's Tail Publishing Ltd
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
1,164,543
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Born in Santa Fé, Argentina in 1937, Juan José Saer is the leading Argentinian writer of the post-Borges generation. In 1968, he moved to Paris and taught literature at the university in Rennes, Brittany. In 1998, Saer was awarded Spain's prestigious Nadal Prize. His work is translated into all major languages. He died in 2005.

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