5 September 2007

Tomás Eloy Martínez, The Tango Singer, 2004

A New York student arrives in Buenos Aires in 2001 in search of Julio Martel, a legendary and highly elusive Tango singer. But while seeking out Martel his real discoveries are of Buenos Aires’s many tragic histories, all somehow intertwined with the random performances of Martel himself, and still behind almost everything there is the ghost of Borges to deal with and the indelible stamp he made on the Porteños psyche. As a story of obsessions and a variety of very erudite madnesses, this book quickly becomes a guided tour of the city’s unwritten and mostly secret past, bringing Buenos Aires alive with an almost dreamlike lucidity. Borges still casts a very long shadow over modern Argentine literature and when the result is beautiful books like this, that is no bad thing.   PY

  Martínez was shortlisted for the International Man Booker Prize in 2005.

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