A Dream Come True: The Collected Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti
Where: 192 Books
192 Tenth Ave.
212-255-4022 Price: Free
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192 Books and Archipelago Books host a celebration of the life and work of Juan Carlos Onetti with Álvaro Enrigue and Jonathan Blitzer.
Juan Carlos Onetti was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, but began writing in Buenos Aires in the late 1930s. Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa described Onetti as “one of the great modern writers, not only in Latin America.” He published short stories in La Nación and in the magazine Sur, founded by Victoria Ocampo and Jorge Luis Borges. He then proceeded to write novels centered around the imaginary town of Santa María, which he described through a complex, poetic, and existentialist prose in “Los Astilleros,” “Juntacadáveres,” and “La vida breve”. He was exiled to Spain in 1976, where he worked as a writer for El País and several Latin American newspapers. His lyrical stories and compact novels awarded him the Cervantes Prize in 1980 and the Rodó Prize in 1991. “For me, writing is an act of love, without euphemisms. Three things that have happened to me, and that still happen, are similar to each other: a sweet, gradual drunkenness, making love, and writing. If writing were a laborious activity for me: not a line, not a day”
A Dream Come True, translated by Katherine Silver, gathers Onetti’s entire body of short fiction into English for the first time.
Onetti’s characters drift untethered, through strange places with unfamiliar people. A woman idles in a beachside hotel during a prolonged convalescence; a grandmother serves café-con-leche to schoolboys resembling her lost grandson. In these mysterious, dream-like stories, everything is gestured at, nothing plainly told. Each offers a brief glimpse into the life of one of Onetti’s vast cast of unusual characters, intimately rendering their sorrows, fears, and joys.
Álvaro Enrigue was a Cullman Center Fellow and a Fellow at the Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies. He has taught at New York University, Princeton University, and Columbia University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, The White Review, and n+1, among others. The novel Sudden Death, his first translated into English, was awarded the prestigious Herralde Prize in Spain, and the Elena Poniatowska International Novel Award in Mexico, and has been translated into many languages.
Jonathan Blitzer is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He won a 2017 National Award for Education Reporting for “American Studies,” a story about an underground school for undocumented immigrants. He has been a finalist three times for a Livingston Award, and is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award as well as the 2018 Immigration Journalism Prize from the French-American Foundation. His writing and reporting have also appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Atavist, Oxford American, and The Nation.Buy tickets/get more info now