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The Tango Singer


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The Tango Singer will appeal to fans of Michael Ondaatje

About the Author

Tomas Eloy Martinez was born in Argentina in 1934. During the military dictatorship, he lived in exile in Venezuela where he wrote his first three books, all of which were republished in Argentina in 1983, in the first months of democracy. He is currently a professor and director of the Latin American Program at Rutgers University. He was shortlisted for the 2005 International Man Booker Prize.


A playfully convoluted new work from Argentinean Martinez (Santa Evita) follows an American graduate student to Buenos Aires on the trail of an unrecorded authentic tango singer named Julio Martel. In May 2001, Bruno Cadogan ("shitting" in Argentinean argot) arrives in Buenos Aires to hear Martel and complete his dissertation on Jorge Luis Borges's essays on tango. But who is Julio Martel? With the help of a scruffy young kiosk worker named El Tucumano, Bruno finds a room in a low-end boarding house near "the Aleph" of Borges's tale (e.g., a point in space that contains all other points) and begins to scour the city, gripped by out-of-control inflation, for signs of the singer. He plots a map of Martel sightings and elicits from Martel's lover and others tortuous stories of the singer's life: born prematurely in 1945, Martel suffers from hemophilia; he desired, as he made a name for himself in the unstable mid-1970s years of the Per?n dictatorship, only to sound like the earlier star tango singer, Carlos Gardel. As each tale winds elaborately into the next, Martinez's work becomes an affecting, affectionate nod to Borges-and his beloved, damaged Buenos Aires as the "aleph" of the universe. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'At times reminiscent of Paul Auster, The Tango Singer has the makings of a satisfying thriller' Daily Telegraph 'One of Latin America's most celebrated contemporary writers ... The Tango Singer is a work of hallucinatory brilliance ... This exhilarating and often poignant book has a liberating rhythm every bit as hypnotic as the tango itself' Adam Feinstein, Guardian 'Gloriously mysterious ... a rich and delicious experience ... His writing is satisfyingly sharp and eccentric' Independent on Sunday 'This is nothing like the Buenos Aires that he has read about ... A vivid, fascinating, dreamlike novel' Kate Saunders, The Times

Written by veteran novelist Eloy Martinez, who was born in Argentina and now teaches at Rutgers University, NJ, this novel follows an American researcher named Bruno Cadogan as he searches for a little-known but exceptionally gifted contemporary tango singer in the chaotic and bankrupt Buenos Aires, when within ten days in 2001 Argentina had five presidents. The voice of Julio Martel is said to be "full as a sphere" and far more beautiful than that of legendary tango singer Carlos Gardel. Because Martel performs his vocal magic at a string of odd places throughout the city, Cadogan believes his trajectory springs from the Kabala or some other arcane formula. But Martel is dying of a necrotic liver, and the loyalty of his caregiver Alcira so inspires Bruno, who is gay, that he even proposes to her. As Bruno makes sense of Martel's far-from-random movements, readers are treated to a captivating tour of the gutters and glories of Buenos Aires. Essential reading for all enthusiasts of Latin American culture.-Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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