The Diaries of Emilio Renzi

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-11-07
  • Publisher: Restless Books
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The highly anticipated, autobiographical life’s work from the visionary Argentine novelist who brought Latin American letters out from Borges’s shadow and into the postmodern era bookended by Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace.

A giant of contemporary Latin American literature, Argentine novelist Ricardo Piglia was known for stories, novels, operas, screenplays, and essays, but his magnum opus is one that he poured into 327 secret notebooks over nearly six decades, in which he imagined himself as his literary alter ego, Emilio Renzi. Like Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman, Renzi stars in many of his creator’s works, but Piglia invented him in 1957, long before his 1981 novel about Argentina’s Dirty War, Artificial Respiration, made Renzi, and Piglia, famous. In the novels, Renzi is a detective; in the notebooks that comprise The Diaries of Emilio Renzi, he is something more complex—a multilayered reconstruction of the self that the reader, performing her own detective work, teases out over these intricate, illuminating pages.

As Piglia develops as a reader and writer, falls in love, and tussles with his tyrannical father, we get eye-opening perspectives on Latin America’s tumultuous twentieth century. Obsessed with the literary giants—from Borges to Cortázar (both of whom he knew), Proust to Hemingway, Kafka to Camus—The Diaries comprise a celebration of reading as a vital, existential activity.

In 2011, when Piglia learned he had a fatal illness, he raced to complete his mysterious masterwork as rumors about the book intensified among his many fans. First released in Spanish as a trilogy amid tremendous applause, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi cements Piglia’s place in the global canon.

Author Biography

Ricardo Piglia (Buenos Aires, 1940–2017), professor emeritus of Princeton University, is unanimously considered a classic of contemporary Spanish-language literature. He published five novels, including Artificial Respiration, The Absent City, and Target in the Night, as well as collections of stories and criticism. Among the numerous prizes he received were the Premio de la Crítica, Premio Rómulo Gallegos, Premio Bartolomé March, Premio Casa de las Américas, Premio José Donoso, and Premio Formentor de las Letras.

Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, and A Critic’s Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans’s work, translated into a dozen languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. He hosted the syndicated PBS television show Conversations with Ilan Stavans. He is a cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, and Oxford.

Robert Croll is a writer, translator, musician and artist originally from Asheville, North Carolina. His fascination with translation began during his undergraduate studies at Amherst College, where he began translating short stories, focusing particularly on the work of Julio Cortázar. He currently resides in Massachusetts.

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