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Purgatory Paperback – 1 December 2011
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- ASIN : 1608197115
- Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 December 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 273 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781608197118
- ISBN-13 : 978-1608197118
- Dimensions : 14.17 x 2.05 x 21.03 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Tomas Eloy Martinez was born in Argentina in 1934. During the military dictatorship, he lived in exile in Venezuela where he wrote his first three books, all of which were republished in Argentina in 1983, in the first months of democracy. He was until his death in January 2010 a professor and director of the Latin American Program at Rutgers University. He was shortlisted for the 2005 International Man Booker Prize.
Frank Wynne has translated numerous books from both French and Spanish into English, including the work of Michel Houellebecq, Marcelo Figueras, and Jules Verne. His accolades as a translator include the Scott Moncrieff Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Festival Prize.
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The disappearances and imprisonment of 1.5% of the population put families in purgatory, the title is apt.
Martinez grapples with this tsunami of grief and dislocation through the eyes of exiled Emilia seeing her husband somehow alive in a New York diner 30 years after his death. Their love story is the kaleidescope illustrating the enormity of the times referencing actual events with surrealist skill. I have seen a comment that Martinez is cold and impersonal about Emila and Simon's relationship but I think this unfair. Emila's wedding night may have been a disaster but her honeymoon was joyful, the escape from her parents tyranny but cut short another more terrible.
Frank Wynne's translation is excellent sustaining the Martinez' lyricism. Do not be put off by the political backdrop or the surrealism. The themes are absolutely contemporary of love and loss, exile and the consequences of oppression.
Carolina de Robertis novel Perla is a surreal first person love story with a disappeared partner which I highly recommend as a companion read. Sheila Cassidy, Audacity to Believe is also highly recommended. Her autobiography of the period she was a christian nurse to the poor in Chile is a beacon of courage, love and caring in terrible circumstances.