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Guillermo Saccomanno

Teoksen Gesell Dome tekijä

23+ teosta 228 jäsentä 15 arvostelua 1 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Tekijän teokset

Gesell Dome (2012) 70 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
The Clerk (2010) 61 kappaletta, 9 arvostelua
77 (2008) 51 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Bajo Bandera (1991) 5 kappaletta
Cuando Temblamos (2016) 3 kappaletta
Buen Dolor, El (1999) 3 kappaletta
Un maestro (2000) 2 kappaletta
La Lengua del Malón (2003) 2 kappaletta
Terrible accidente del alma (2014) 2 kappaletta
Moby Dick 1 kappale
SITUACIÓN DE PELIGRO (2014) 1 kappale
Cayenna - Volume 2 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu
unknown (2015) 1 kappale
Cuentos reunidos (2024) 1 kappale
Cayenna 1 kappale, 1 arvostelu

Associated Works

L'Eternauta n.2 - Aprile 1982 — Tekijä — 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Buenos Aires, Argentina



Hombres y mujeres completamente normales avanzan a diario hacia su escritorio en una ciudad arrasada por atentados guerrilleros, amenazada por hordas de hambrientos, niños asesinos y perros clonados, vigilada por helicópteros artillados y bautizada con lluvia ácida. Entre ellos, un oficinista dispuesto a la humillación con tal de conservar su puesto… hasta que se enamora y se permite soñar con ser otro. ¿De qué abyecciones es capaz un hombre por aferrarse a un sueño?
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Natt90 | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 27, 2023 |
review of
Guillermo Saccomanno's Gesell Dome
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 26, 2021

For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1334161-guillermo-saccomanno

I started reading this so long ago I don't even remember when it was. I think there were dinosaurs around at the time & constant mist. I might've had a tail. Then again, it cd've been much later, say in 2018. More likely I started it in 2019. Since around the fall of 2018 I've been reading 8 bks that're important to me for 1 reason or another but I've been COLOSSALLY BORED by them. I'm sure that my general disatisfaction during the QUARANTYRANNY hasn't helped but it started before then. I might've finished 2 of those 8 bks during this time.

I don't mean to imply that this was a hard bk to read, I don't mean to imply that it's not well-written &/or well-translated. I might even say that it's exceptional.. but that doesn't mean that I even recommend it! Somehow, my mind has changed in a way in recent yrs that made this bk just. not. for. me.

It's explained in Andrea G. Labinger's Translator's Introduction:

"The Gesell Camera [more commonly known as Gesell Dome]... was conceived as a dome for observing children's behavior without their being disturbed by the presence of strangers. The Gesell Dome consists of two rooms with a dividing wall in between in which a large, one-way mirror allows an observer in one room to see what is happening in the other, but not vice-versa." - p viii

It was the author's intention to describe the activities in an Argentinian sea resort as if it were enclosed in a Gesell Dome - in other words: as if he were privy to all sorts of private lives. This was very ambitious & I think he did a wonderful job. The novel is all short sections about a wide variety of recurring characters.

"Similarly, the novel is peppered with examples of vesre, a feature of lunfardo that involves the reversal of syllables, e.g., Monra for Ramón or tordo for do[c]tor, creating a cryptolect comparable to Pig Latin, back slang, or—distant cousin, perhaps—Cockney English." - p x

The translator's dilemma. She decided against "reversing syllables in the translation" b/c "the effect in English would be too jarring". I kindof wished she'd done it anyway b/c that part of the original is lost.

In general this bk is grim, maybe that's why I didn't ultimately enjoy it. Here's a sample from the beginning:

"one of the gunmen from El Monte, is selling crack to a bunch of kids, and those boys and girls, dressed in hoodies, have just finished poisoning your Rottweiler and in a minute will be pointing a gun at you, forcing your wife to suck them off, fucking your daughter, and you'd better tell them where you keep your cash because you don't know what they're capable of with that iron you won with supermarket bonus points, the iron they've plugged in and is starting to heat up." - p 4

This violence isn't relentless but it is somewhat the norm.

"But we all wear skinny jeans. Stovepipe pants—in my day we called them stovepipes." - p 11

The above is a minor detail but it's the sort of thing I notice. "Stovepipes" are straight, "skinny jeans" taper. Is this a translator error? A deliberate error in the original text? Neither?

"Everyone, I'm saying, including the natives, call this town the Villa. And when they say "Villa," they feel like a superior, chosen race. The kids, on the other hand, those who were born here, almost all share the single goal of getting the hell out. The stoner snobs who want to keep on kicking back take their surfboards to Costa Rica. The blue-collar kids who are looking to earn some cash go to Spain to become dishwashers or to the States to scrub toilets. Wherever it is, they'll be better off. Anywhere but the Villa. This damn town, they call it." - p 12

The Villa does seem like a type of hell, even tho its natural environment is promising, it's all tainted, corpses washing ashore, constant crime, a history of secret nazism, public relations seem like a band-aid over a festering black plague bubo.

"In those days, as the Allies were winning the war, the three or four measly cabins started to multiply. Soon there were a dozen; the settlement grew, taking the shape of a Villa that was recommended by one friend to another among the Buenos Aires German community. During that period the Hotel Wagner was built, with a movie theater, which, according to the old timers, showed The Triumph of the Will. It had a radio and a transmitter, which, they say, communicated with submarines along the Huns' route. Here, at night, a twinkling of light could sometimes be seen where the sea met the sky. Nazi bigwigs disembarked, bringing with them the Führer's gold; they carried passports, like I said, allowing them to return to Hamburg and come back again with more fugitives. Odessa, let's call it. Everyone knows. No one tells." - p 28

Now, an aside here is that once upon a time many or most readers wd understand the reference to The Triumph of the Will as a reference to the (in)famous film of the 1934 nazi Nuremburg rally by Leni Riefenstahl. Many wd've seen the film & had the chance to decide for themselves whether it's a great film or a horrible one or whatever. I've seen the film, I'm very much against its message & I'm not that impressed by it otherwise. I even used excerpts from it in a movie of mine called "P@rty Prop@g@nd@", a movie meant to expose & subvert 20th century propaganda. These days, the film is banned from YouTube & probably not shown much, if at all, in academia. Will an understanding of how propaganda works be lost w/ this censorship? Will people be just as easily duped again?

"Even though she would drag Alba to church, my sister was more of a bookworm. From Little Women to Das Kapital, she read everything that fell into her hands. And whatever didn't fall into her hands, she searched for." - p 41

I'm reminded of Gypsy Rose Lee. Her son had this to say about her in his foreword to her mystery novel Mother Finds a Body:

"She read any book she could buy or shoplift, which resulted in an eccentric range of topics and authors: Decameron, The Blind Bow Boy, Das Capital, and Droll Stories to name a few." - p 6 [ https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2429180220 ]

The Gesell Dome has no secrets.

"And so you find out. In the end you find out. And in the end everyone finds out. Even if you don't want to. I'll give you an example: you have a nieghbor that you never said hello to in your whole life, and without wanting to, you find out: something he's hiding, because we're all hiding something, a humiliation, a vice, a sorrow, and that something comes to light when you least expect it, and the ones you least expected to find out will find out, and after a while the whole town knows, because there are no secrets to be kept here." - p 49

Then there's the classic Western movie stand-off:

"As soon as the posse discovered that the Commissioner had captured one of the suspects, they gathered in front of the police station. It was still nighttime when the 4X4s braked to a halt at the station. Commissioner Frugone came out to meet them. Dobroslav was the one to speak for the group. He demanded that the Commissioner hand over Ramiro. They'd get a confession out of him. Insecurity had its limits, they said. And that you don't screw around with kids. They were prepared to enter the police station by force. Over my dead body, Frugone said. And he pulled out his 9 millimeter. You people can take me down, but I'll pick off a few of you first. Then the members of the posse noticed the gun barrels pointing at them from the ground floor and second floor of the police station. That's the way it happened, Dante said with precision. They must've gotten scared. They left, cursing Frugone under their breath." - p 60

Even more classic is that Dobroslav is the child molestor & he completely gets away w/ it.

"Exclusive interview with Anita López for El Vocero. Our middle school language teacher and a local militant of the Radical Party presented a project for stimulating our youth at the Forum for a Non-Violent Villa" - p 94

"A first step in this project is to promote music. And so today we're going to present a modern musical group made up of three students from our dear institution, this middle school. And we're committed to the development of these young artists: "The Skinheads." - p 95

Ha. ha.

"Joseph Pilates was a sickly child, which led him to study the human body and devise a method of strengthening it through exercise. Thus, in time he became a great athlete. It was in England where he would begin to develop his method, while being detained in a concentration camp during the First World War due to his German nationality. While working as a nurse, he developed a method to improve other detainees' health through exercise. For the weaker and sicker patients he developed a system of pulleys and cords over their beds in order to exercise muscles, the origin of some of the machinery he later invented, like the reformer, the trapeze, the chair, and the barrel." - p 100

Imagine that. I tried reforming society & they put me in a chair in a barrel & pushed me over Niagara Falls telling me there was a trapeze at the bottom. There wasn't. Was Pilates responsible?

"And Jackie starts telling her what she has to tell her, that she should stop screwing around and threatening to separate from Braulio and air family business matters, that if she makes a stink, if she opens her mouth, if she even thinks of ratting on the Kennedy business, it's the end of everything. If she needs to set up the Pilates studio to feel like a big shot, she should go right ahead, but stop being so cocky. Because anyone can have an accident on the highway. What if you're driving with the girls, imagine, and your brakes give out. It can happen to anyone.

"Adriana can't believe what is coming out of Jackie's mouth." - p 111

See what I mean?!

"Just what we needed. Now they're coming out with the story that El Muertito is a baby that the military swallowed up and dropped from one of those death flights. The tide brought in many dead in those days. And all of them got buried around here. Those that weren't destined to end up in the cemetery wound up buried in the dunes. No use stirring up those times again." - p 140

The reference is to Argentina's "Dirty War" era. That is so important to me as a low-point in human history that I quote a lengthy section from my review of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's The Buenos Aires Quintet ( https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/382361-don-t-let-them-get-away?chapter=1 )

""The Argentine army's "Dirty War" disappeared 30,000 people, and the last thing Pepe Carvalho wants is to investigate one of the vanished, even if that missing person is his cousin, But blood proves thicker than a fine Mondoza Cabernet Sauvignon, even for a jaded gourmand like Pepe, and so at his family's request he leaves Barcelona for Buenos Aires."

"I subscribed to a magazine called "CounterSpy" in 1980 & to another magazine called "CovertAction Information Bulletin" from 1980 to 1982. Both magazines published exposés of CIA connections to oppressive regimes the world over. I remember seeing an/the editor of CounterSpy on a TV talk show defending himself for the magazine's disclosure of CIAgents info. Wikipedia states that "the 1975 murder of Richard S. Welch, the CIA Station Chief in Greece, by Revolutionary Organization 17 November was blamed by some on disclosures in magazines such as CounterSpy." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CounterSpy_Magazine ) CounterSpy's position was that the info they disclosed was already public knowledge & that, of course, such disclosures served positive political purposes by providing resistance to CIA covert operations.

"However, it was CovertAction that really impressed me. Around 1981, I was reading its investigations into the military junta's death & torture squads in Argentina. Datings vary substantially, but for simplicity's sake, the main era of state-sponsored terrorism took place from 1976 to 1983 w/ estimates of victims varying. For the purposes of this review, 30,000 leftists were disappeared by the military during this time. CovertAction Information Bulletin (later called CovertAction Quarterly from 1992 'til its unfortunate demise in 2005) gave extremely detailed info about the tortures & murders committed by the military during this time. I found the explicitness of the terror almost unbearable to even read about.

"According to Wikipedia, in 1985 "The government of Raúl Alfonsín began to develop cases against offenders. It organised a tribunal to conduct prosecution of offenders, and in 1985 the Trial of the Juntas was held. The top military officers of all the juntas were among the nearly 300 people prosecuted, and the top men were all convicted and sentenced for their crimes. This is the only Latin American example of the government conducting such trials. Threatening another coup, the military opposed subjecting more of its personnel to such trials and forced through passage of Ley de Punto Final in 1986, which "put a line" under previous actions and ended prosecutions for crimes under the dictatorship. Fearing military uprisings against them, Argentina’s first two presidents inflicted punishment only to top Dirty War ex-commanders, and even then, very conservatively. Despite President Raúl Alfonsín’s 1983 establishment of CONADEP, a commission to investigate the atrocities of the Dirty War, in 1986 the Ley de Punto Final (Full Stop Law) provided amnesty to Dirty War acts, stating that torturers were doing their “jobs"." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War )

"One of the torturers outed in CovertAction was nicknamed the "Blond Angel".

For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1334161-guillermo-saccomanno
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
tENTATIVELY | 1 muu arvostelu | Apr 3, 2022 |
I have mixed feelings about 77 and I'm not sure I know why. I like the author and the novel is well written. The story is intense, sad, personal, and political. What's not to like? Although it will sound strange, for me, at times, the story seemed too personal. For a significant section of the novel, the author uses a literary device to move the story forward. A central character reveals in depth the very personal and sexual correspondence of two other characters in the story. Although it makes no real sense, it made me see the character as a voyeur and myself as an uncomfortable participant. I don't believe that was the author's intent and attribute my discomfort to my personal idiosyncrasies.

So, a very powerful book that will no doubt have an emotional impact on any serious and sensitive reader.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
colligan | 1 muu arvostelu | Feb 18, 2022 |
The novel The Office Worker was awarded the Brief Library Award for 2010 and it is not difficult to see the reasons behind that choice. The short length of the story and the urgency it communicates makes it a quick and rewarding. The novel successfully conveys a sense of oppression and claustrophobia through the persistent description of a reality that many have taken to compare with that exhibited in the film Blade Runner, although perhaps this is much less technological but equally perverse and atrocious. Although influences may occasionally seem too explicit and insistent, Guillermo Saccomanno's diligence in the narrative manages to trap the reader in a spiral of moral and personal decadence.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
modioperandi | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 14, 2021 |



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