The Absent City

Front Cover
Duke University Press, Oct 25, 2000 - Fiction - 155 pages
2 Reviews
Widely acclaimed throughout Latin America after its 1992 release in Argentina, The Absent City takes the form of a futuristic detective novel. In the end, however, it is a meditation on the nature of totalitarian regimes, on the transition to democracy after the end of such regimes, and on the power of language to create and define reality. Ricardo Piglia combines his trademark avant-garde aesthetics with astute cultural and political insights into Argentina’s history and contemporary condition in this conceptually daring and entertaining work.
The novel follows Junior, a reporter for a daily Buenos Aires newspaper, as he attempts to locate a secret machine that contains the mind and the memory of a woman named Elena. While Elena produces stories that reflect on actual events in Argentina, the police are seeking her destruction because of the revelations of atrocities that she—the machine—is disseminating through texts and taped recordings. The book thus portrays the race to recover the history and memory of a city and a country where history has largely been obliterated by political repression. Its narratives—all part of a detective story, all part of something more—multiply as they intersect with each other, like the streets and avenues of Buenos Aires itself.
The second of Piglia’s novels to be translated by Duke University Press—the first was Artifical Respiration—this book continues the author’s quest to portray the abuses and atrocities that characterize dictatorships as well as the difficulties associated with making the transition to democracy. Translated and with an introduction by Sergio Waisman, it includes a new afterword by the author.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

The absent city

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Piglia's political mystery is steeped in Argentina's history and culture, making reference to Borges, Eva Peron, and Nazis-in-hiding. The story focuses on Junior, the son of English immigrants, who ... Read full review

Review: The Absent City

User Review  - Colailibrary - Goodreads

A engaging but rambling read that switched between narratives without signalling this to the reader. Confusing in places, but certainly worth a browse. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Introduction
I The Meeting
II The Museum
III Mechanical Birds
IV On Shore
Afterword
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Ricardo Piglia lives in Argentina and is the author of nine Spanish-language books, two of which have been previously translated into English: Artificial Respiration, also published by Duke University Press, and Assumed Name. The Absent City has been performed as an opera in Argentina and Piglia’s books have been translated into Portuguese, French, Italian, and German. His fiction has won the Casa de las Américas Prize, the Boriz Vian Prize, and the Premio Planeta.

Sergio Waisman is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University. His previous translations include Piglia’s Nombre falso (Assumed Name), which received the Meritorious Achievement Award in the 1995 Eugene M. Kayden National Translation Contest. In addition, Waisman was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Translation Fellowship to support his translation of The Absent City.

Bibliographic information