Roberto Arlt, celebrated in Argentina for his tragicomic, punch-in-the-jaw writing during the 1920s and 1930s, was a forerunner of Latin American “boom” and “postboom” novelists such as Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. Mad Toy, acclaimed by many as Arlt’s best novel, is set against the chaotic background of Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. Set in the badlands of adolescence, where acts of theft and betrayal become metaphors for creativity, Mad Toy is equal parts pulp fiction, realism, detective story, expressionist drama, and creative memoir.
An immigrant son of a German father and an Italian mother, Arlt as a youth was a school dropout, poor and often hungry. In Mad Toy, he incorporates his personal experience into the lives of his characters. Published in 1926 as El juguete rabioso, the novel follows the adventures of Silvio Astier, a poverty-stricken and frustrated youth who is drawn to gangs and a life of petty crime. As Silvio struggles to bridge the gap between exuberant imagination and the sordid reality around him, he becomes fascinated with weapons, explosives, vandalism, and thievery, despite a desperate desire to rise above his origins. Flavored with a dash of romance, a hint of allegory, and a healthy dose of irony, the novel’s language varies from the cultured idiom of the narrator to the dialects and street slang of the novel’s many colorful characters.
Mad Toy has appeared in numerous Spanish editions and has been adapted for the stage and for film. It is the second of Arlt’s novels to be translated into English.
What people are saying - Write a review
MAD TOYUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
This is the first (1926) novel published by the neglected Argentinian postmodernist writer (1900-42) whose phantasmagoric The Seven Madmen (English translation, 1999) rivals the masterpieces of ... Read full review
Arlts Dedication to Ricardo Giiiraldes
Works and Days
3 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
Aguafuertes Andalusian Argentine Arlt's arms asked Astier Beatriz Sarlo beautiful Buenos Aires butcher cannon Captain Marquez cave centavos clothes corner Dardo Rocha dark Dio Fetente dirty Don Gaetano Don Miguel Dona Maria door Drodman ears El juguete rabioso Enrique Enrique's eyes face flag of Nicaragua Frau gonna hair hands head iron Irzubeta Jorge Luis Borges Juan Juan Carlos Onetti Judas Iscariot juguete rabioso Julio Cortazar kilo laugh light lips litde looked Lucio lunfardo Mad Toy maid Mama Maximito Naidath night pain paper patio pesos poet remember Rengo Roberto Arlt Rocambole Rubio Senor Souza serial novels Silvio slang slowly smile Spanish stopped street suddenly sure sweet talking tell there's things thought took translation turned vendors voice walked wall What's whisdes woman words writer young