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The Sixty-Five Years of Washington Paperback – November 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Open Letter (November 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934824208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934824207
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Argentinian Saer (1937–2005) sets his novel during a walk through the streets of a seaside Argentinian city in the early '60s with a conversation comprising memories, images, and digressions in the mode of Proust and Laurence Sterne. Two characters meet in the street and walk together while discussing Washington Noriega's 65th birthday party, which neither of them attended. The elegant aristocratic Mathematician missed the soiree because he was in Europe; the plebeian Angel Leto wasn't invited. The two men veer off topic to consider the behavior of mosquitoes and whether a horse can stumble, frivolous subjects that contrast with visions of Argentina's harsh political turmoil that would occur in the near future when the mathematician's wife will be killed and Leto will disappear, suicide pill in hand. Saer reaches deep into the psychology of his characters, yet for all his skill, the streams of consciousness become arduous as does identifying with the characters on an emotional level. Think Berman film, difficult but worth the effort. (Nov.) (c)
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From Booklist

In Dolph’s confident translation of Saer’s The Sixty-Five Years of Washington, the reader will find a world distinct from the worlds commonly offered by contemporary American literary fiction. It is not the South American setting that is distinct, however, so much as the style. The characters—some with simple names like Leto, others with grand titles such as the Mathematician—could be talking and walking anywhere, and talking and walking are mostly what they do. What feels foreign is the late Argentine author’s leisurely syntax and villanella-like repetition. This is an abstract novel, and often the abstraction feels more elliptical than profound, though Saer sometimes offers an idea so compelling and immediately recognizable, one cannot help but feel—or perhaps wish—one has had the very same thought: In the half-empty cabin his sudden and at the same time slow gesture contrasted with the illusory stillness of the airplane, which floated in a bank of the gray clouds like a fragile object wrapped in cotton packaging. --Kevin Clouther

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By las cosas on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
This short novel (published originally in Spanish as a novella) centers on the walk through central Santa Fe Argentina by Leto, a young provincial newly arrived in the city who works as a bookkeeper and the Mathematician, a member of a local ruling family who has just returned from a long sojourn through many of the large cities of Europe. While the two make an odd couple on this walk, with the Mathematician tanned and athletic, dressed completely in white, including fashionable white Italian loafers worn without socks and Leto in his cheap work suit, they are bound together by their connection to Tomatis, and by the story of the 65th birthday party for Washington. But neither of them attended the party, so the description is hearsay. The analogy presented to us is a diamond. Millions of facets, equal, transparent, false. "Leaving the event in question with so little reality that the value of the interpretation itself is made problematic."

On one level we have a narrator, who periodically turns the diamond to remind you who is narrating "-man, we were saying, or rather yours truly, the author, was saying,". On another level you have the hilarity of this confused dialog, spoken both externally and as interior dialog. while this odd couple walks down a crowded sidewalk and maneuvers between cars stuck in traffic. At one point the Mathematician is unable to move forward, afraid to squeeze between two cars and soil his white clothes. Looking at the wealthy liberal in his silly whites, Leto thinks "they would give everything, just not their pants. They can accept anything but a stain on their pants.
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