Mascara: A Novel

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Seven Stories Press, 1988 - Fiction - 137 pages
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Chilean exile Dorfman's latest work (after The Last Song of Manuel Sendero) is a tantalizingly ambiguous web of deceit, intrigue and obsession, its layers of meaning gradually revealed. The first, and longest, part of the book is a paranoic monologue by a nameless man with a face that no one recognizes or remembers. Never loved, even by his own mother because he is so forgettable, he turns his curse to his advantage and spies on others, blackmailing victims with photographs that he takes just when their faces reveal their true natures. His life of carefully constructed obscurity is threatened when he runs his car into that of Dr. Maleverdi, a famous plastic surgeon. Then Oriana, an amnesiac, is left in his keeping and he falls in love with her. But with Oriana, who is being tracked by two shadowy men, he is no longer unnoticed, and he realizes that someone is subverting his entire network of spies and informants. Just when it seems that the narrator is about to reveal the cause of his persecution, the narration switches to another voice, that of Oriana's real mnemonic being, which the narrator has hoped will never surface. A final section is narrated by Maleverdi, who, it turns out, has known of the faceless man since his birth, and has watched over his whole life. "A Sort of Epilogue" tantalizingly concludes but doesn't resolvethe story, and the reader is left in delicious puzzlement. -- Publisher's Weekly.

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Mascara: a novel

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Most of this exploration of memory and identity in an unnamed city is narrated by someone who remembers all faces but who can never be recognized. Although the book was written in English, its title ... Read full review

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Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10

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About the author (1988)

ARIEL DORFMAN is considered to be one of "the greatest Latin American novelists" (Newsweek) and one of the United States' most important cultural and political voices. Dorfman's numerous works of fiction and nonfiction have been translated into more than thirty languages, including Death and the Maiden, which has been produced in over one hundred countries and made into a film by Roman Polanski. Dorfman has won many international awards, including the Sudamericana Award, the Laurence Olivier, and two from the Kennedy Center. He is distinguished professor at Duke University and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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