A Dream Come True

by

Translated from by

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ISBN: 9781939810465

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Book Description

Mario Vargas Llosa referred to Juan Carlos Onetti as “one of the great modern writers, not only in Latin America.” A hero to the likes of Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez and a vital forbearer to magical realism, Onetti won the Cervantes Prize in 1980. A Dream Come True, beautifully 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.
In his quest to explore modern forms of being, Onetti also broke new formal ground. His books are complex ... reality itself devolves into a game of telephone ... [Onetti] writes violent, direct tales filled with intrigue and doom in the best manner of Conrad (the writer he most resembles) and even Faulkner (his great hero).
Ratik Asokan, The New York Times


In this standout collection, the Uruguayan Onetti, who died in 1994, masterly depicts the seedy disillusionment of characters in a South American backwater . . . There is a hint of Conrad in these misty tales that plunge beyond 'bare facts' and conjure up a world suffused with misanthropy and meditative irony. Readers will be bewitched.
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review


Onetti himself seems influenced by Poe by way of Baudelaire—but then filtered through William Burroughs, or perhaps B. Traven. The inhabitants of his imagined Santa María, a port city much like his native Montevideo, are a strange bunch, many of them German and Italian immigrants who are nowhere at home ... Onetti's stories are enigmatic and elegant ... All are strange—and mesmerizing. A welcome, overdue collection by a writer well deserving of his place in the Latin American canon.
Kirkus, Starred Review


(Onetti's) works, like traditional mystery stories, are structured around a chain of clues, but the deductive method the detective uses to expose the criminal and motive here attempts to penetrate the characters’ inner torments, which collapse endlessly, one into the other, like a series of trap doors ... by 1940, with 'A Dream Come True,' (Onetti) had written a masterpiece.
Adrian Nathan West, The Washington Examiner


Onetti had the strange quality of being inimitable and at the same time creating an entire school of writing. All of his descendants, myself included, received from him a lesson on narrative intelligence, on wise construction, on an immense love for literary imagination, on risk and irony.
Carlos Fuentes


Onetti is the first modern writer in our language...His world is a dark one, highly pessimist, with a vision of the human condition that is profoundly desperate, and which we would reject if it didn't reach us with such a wonderful language...I can assure that, without the great books that I've read, among which I can count Onetti's books, my life would have been infinitely poorer.
Mario Vargas Llosa


Time and circumstance, and the particular bend of prevailing literary history, have all but buried Onetti’s fiction in English. And if left unaccounted for, his work–to his readers in translation anyway–is perhaps in danger of being worn away. Onetti himself once admitted that his reign was not of this world; at the time, he hadn’t intended that to be a warning.
Jonathan Blitzer


Mr. Onetti was often compared to William Faulkner, creating "desperate characters without dreams but who are not lacking in humanity," in the words of the critic Jorge Campos. His fiction "centers not so much on plot or theme or character as on an erratic but insistent inquisitiveness about the stories people step into or trail behind them," the critic Michael Wood wrote last year in The London Review of Books.
The Associated Press


Onetti is an epiphany, a celebration of beauty, of emotion and tenderness.
Antonio Muñóz Molina


Onetti’s writing is so good, a mere sentence by him will give you goosebumps. If I had to sell my soul to the devil in order to write a sentence in Spanish like someone else, I would think about very few authors: Borges, Onetti.
Carlos Gamerro


Onetti’s writing knew that literature is creation, that creation is reality and not repetition or recreation, that it is about finding a good story to tell and then tell it beautifully.
Carlos Liscano