Compared to Conrad, Nabokov, and Beckett by Octavio Paz, Argentine-born Hector Bianciotti is one of the leading literary figures in his adopted homeland of France. What the Night Tells the Day, his first novel to be translated into English, is the fictionalized story of Bianciotti’s youth among poor immigrant peasants in rural Argentina during the late years of the Perón regime, and a moving and sensitive portrayal of a boy’s discovery of his own homosexuality.
About the Author
Hector Bianciotti was born in 1930 in Argentina. He left for Europe in 1955 and has lived in Paris since 1961.The author of many books, including the prizewinning Sans la Miséricorde du Christ, he is currently the literary correspondent for Le Monde.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Words drop slowly, one after another, in long languid sentences. Reading WHAT THE NIGHT TELLS THE DAY is a bit like sitting at the knee of an old storyteller and listening carefully to his tale. Like all reminiscences, this one tends to drift a bit. Stories come out to startle the reader, and and then retreat, changing into something else - a philosophical discourse, perhaps. Yet, somehow, the slight unevenness in tone seems to make the book all the more authentic. Disconcerting for purists, the book's "identity" might annoy some readers. The cover declares it to be a novel, but the inside jacket tell us that the writer has turned from his usual fiction and has written a classical autobiography. The problem here may be that no one knows how to classify this beautiful tale. But the style is truly one of memoir; it is not long within the pages of this book that the reader forgets about the question of fiction vs. memoir and gets lost in the power of the writing. It no longer matters whether the words are near truth or disguised truth. One just feels the characters and, most importantly, the feeling. Bianciotti's strength is an almost pastoral sense of portraying the personal. He renders an interior life for an outside audience in a way not unlike a minister interpreting the Bible for his/her parishoners. The book shuld be read by anyone wanting to read prose of tremendous power and by readers interested in the entire emotional package of the homosexual experience, not necessarily the erotic. Bianciotti does all of this well, but not as well as Yukio Mishima who covered much the same material in his classic novel, CONFESSIONS OF A MASK. The two books have similarities, but Mishima's is far superior, and as well as allowing the reader inside of the mind of someone coming to terms with their sexuality, Mishima gives much more of a feeling of Japan than Bianciotti manages of Argentina. Still, WHAT THE NIGHT TELLS THE DAY is highly recommended.
What the Night tells the day by Hector Bianciotti, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale This is a coming of age tale narrated in the first person by Mr. Bianciotti. Born to Piedmontese Italian immigrants in a farm in the Pampas, Argentina, the author starts with his youth in the farm. Fascinated by his great aunt - Pinotta, the author soon discovers masturbation as he interacts with one of the farm helpers: Tomasito Carraca. His mother and father are poor and proud Italian immigrants. His mother was a pious Catholic, his father probably an atheist. However, his father wants the author to be educated. Thus he is shipped to Córdova, Argentina where he starts education by the Franciscans. It is clear that he continues having issued with masturbation - as he confesses to Father Salgado, his spiritual director. Somehow, the author decides he has a calling to be a priest, and after getting the required permission from his family, he moves to Moreno, Argentina. he continues under the auspices of the Franciscans, but goes to school with the "Maristas." The author takes pain in describing how on his arrival to Moreno there was a solar eclipse - at the ending of which he sees the face of an older seminarian who he falls madly in love. After succeeding in his studies he realizes that he can't become a priest, so he's sent back to live with his family - who now live in Villa del Rosario. There he becomes the clerk for the local notary. He doesn't last long there and he moves to Buenos Aires. There he fathers a son by Judith, and has numerous lovers, the most prominent one being Matías. The book ends as the author is about to move to Europe, where he currently resides in Paris. The book is quite boring. In spite of narrating the coming out experiences of a teen in Latin Argentina, the author never gets the reader involved in the story. Perhaps because none of the main characters are developed: we never get the name of the author, nor the name of his parents. There is no climax and no suspense - there is a minimal plot which is poorly developed. I was very disappointed with the book.