“Yet to the late Juan José Saer…Di Benedetto’s style was ‘undoubtedly the most original’ in twentieth-century Argentina”

Antonio Di Benedetto

Antonio Di Benedetto

In The New Yorker, Benjamin Kunkel writes:

“Zama,” a brief, indelible novel by the Argentinean writer Antonio Di Benedetto, is a work of waiting—of enforced lassitude, excruciated anticipation, and final frustration. The story of a man holding out for deliverance from the backwater that turns out to be his destiny (if “destiny isn’t too dignified a word for where character and circumstance conspire to deposit us), it was written by a man likewise toiling in provincial obscurity and had itself to wait decades after its publication, in 1956, before it was recognized in the Spanish-speaking world as a classic. Only now, some sixty years later, and thirty after the death of its author, has the book appeared in English, in a sensitive translation by Esther Allen (New York Review Books). Yet to the late Juan José Saer, the leading Argentinean novelist of recent decades, Di Benedetto’s style was “undoubtedly the most original” in twentieth-century Argentina, and his work “one of the culminating instances of Spanish-language narrative in our century.”

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