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Overview

Zama by Antonio Di Benedetto

An NYRB Classics Original

First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature.
 
Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good.
 
Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its stark dreamlike prose and spare imagery, is at once dense and unforeseen, terse and fateful, marked throughout by a haunting movement between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, so that every word seems to emerge from an ocean of things left unsaid. The philosophical depths of this great book spring directly from its dazzling prose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590177174
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 08/23/2016
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 168,139
Product dimensions: 4.98(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.48(d)

About the Author

Antonio di Benedetto (1922–1986) was an Argentine journalist and the author of five novels, of which Zama is the best known. His first book, the story collection Mundo Animal (1952), appeared in English translation in 1997 as Animal World.
 
Esther Allen
has translated Javier Marías, Jorge Luis Borges, Felisberto Hernández, Flaubert, Rosario Castellanos, Blaise Cendrars, Marie Darrieussecq, and José Martí. She currently teaches at Baruch College and has directed the work of the PEN Translation Fund since its founding in 2003. Allen has received a Fulbright Grant, two National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships, and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

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