Today I opened my heavily annotated edition of Leopoldo Marechal’s great modernist epic Adán Buenosayres with a view to finally reading it and possibly writing a review later on just to find out later that this novel had recently been translated into English as Adam Buenosayres. I’ve read quite a few previews of important fiction coming out this year and nowhere was this mentioned. You must be joking! This is the publishing event of the year that can be matched only by the forthcoming translation of Miklós Szentkuthy’s Prae. All the aficionados of the encyclopedic novel should start celebrating right now! Dubbed “the Argentine Ulysses” in Joshua Cohen’s Bloomsday article, this novel indeed carries the influence of Joyce’s masterpiece. Still, if it was just a piece of crass epigonism, as some of the early negative reviews attempted to present the novel, it would not have become an acclaimed classic of Argentine letters. This erudite exploration of Buenos Aires and its cultural and artistic milieu promises more than mere rehashing of Joyce’s themes and methods. One of the earliest champions of the novel was Julio Cortázar, whose positive review contributed to the subsequent rescue of the work from critical oblivion. Enjoy this unexpected gift from McGill-Queen’s University Press, and I will have to think of some other novel for my next review.
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