Zama

By Antonio Di Benedetto
Translated and with a preface by  Esther Allen
Read by Armando Durán

7.95 Hours 01/10/2017 unabridged
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First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature. Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good. Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its stark dreamlike prose and spare imagery, is at once dense and unforeseen, terse and fateful, marked throughout by a haunting movement between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, so that every word seems to emerge from an ocean of things left unsaid. The philosophical depths of this great book spring directly from its dazzling prose.

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Summary

Summary

Shortlisted for the 2017 National Translation Award

A 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year Selection in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award

First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature.

Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good.

Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its stark dreamlike prose and spare imagery, is at once dense and unforeseen, terse and fateful, marked throughout by a haunting movement between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, so that every word seems to emerge from an ocean of things left unsaid. The philosophical depths of this great book spring directly from its dazzling prose.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“How fortunate we are to finally have this classic of twentieth-century Argentine literature in English…Esther Allen’s superb translation captures the remarkable atmosphere and existential anguish of di Benedetto’s masterwork.” National Translation Award Committee
“As with novels by Kafka, Camus, Sartre, and Beckett, the story’s preoccupation is the tension between human freedom and constraining circumstance…The belated arrival of Zama in the United States raises an admittedly hyperbolic question: Can it be that the Great American Novel was written by an Argentinean?” New Yorker
“[Di Benedetto] has written essential pages that have moved me and that continue to move me.” Jorge Luis Borges, Edgar Award–winning author
”Read it above all for the triumph of its style…It’s Sartre by way of J. Peterman, and in Esther Allen’s translation it still feels unique and alive.” Paris Review Daily
"Zama remains the most attractive of Di Benedetto’s books, if only because of the crazy energy of Zama himself, which is vividly conveyed in Esther Allen’s excellent translation.” New York Review of Books
“An existential masterpiece and one of the great novels of the Spanish language, Zama is Antonio di Benedetto’s most famous—and, arguably, his best—work.” Latin American Review of Books
“This year’s release of Antonio Di Benedetto’s masterpiece is a literary event of great importance, and it puts an end to an unjust historical neglect.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Antonio Di Benedetto

Antonio Di Benedetto (1922–1986) was born in Mendoza, Argentina. He began his career as a journalist, writing for the Mendoza paper Los Andes. In 1953 he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled Mundo Animal. Zama was his first novel, followed by El Silenciero, Los Suicidas, and Sonbras, Nada Más. Over the course of his career, he received numerous honors, including a 1975 Guggenheim Fellowship and decorations from the French and Italian governments, and he earned the admiration of such well-known writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Roberto Bolaño. In 1976 Di Benedetto was imprisoned and tortured by Argentina’s military dictatorship. After his release in 1977, he went into exile in Spain. He returned to Buenos Aires in 1984 and died less than two years later.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 7.95
Audience: Adult
Language: English