A Brief Life

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Grossman Publishers, 1976 - Fiction - 292 pages
2 Reviews
The Uruguayan writer's 1950 masterwork, in which a dissatisfied advertising copywriter in his forties discards his personal possessions, history, and rational consciousness and indulges in fantasy after fantasy in search of one moment of psychic weightlessness

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User Review  - baswood - LibraryThing

I think it would be suitable to add a subtitle A Brief Life; and not a Happy One, as Onetti takes his readers deep into existential despair. I came away with the impression that I had read a book that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JimElkins - LibraryThing

Juan Carlos Onetti, A Brief Life This is a tone poem, a mood piece, which is what excuses the otherwise irresponsible quotation from the Sunday Telegraph on the back cover: “The Graham Greene of ... Read full review


Santa Rosa
Diaz Grey the City and the River

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About the author (1976)

Onetti's subject is the decay and materialism of the modern world, but he presents it in a dense, indirect prose style that creates a world often bordering on nightmare. The narrator of A Brief Life (1950) creates a number of other existences for himself to escape the boredom and limits, symbolized by his wife's mastectomy, of his own. Ultimately, the created worlds take over supposed reality. The Shipyard (1961), generally considered his best novel, demonstrates the central character's inability to control his life in an absurd existence. Onetti's characters never cease trying to create meaning, but they flounder helplessly in a world that is beyond their efforts at control.

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