Sobre héroes y tumbas

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Ernesto Sabato naci en Rojas, provincia de Buenos Aires, en 1911, hizo su doctorado en f sica y cursos de filosof a en la Universidad de La Plata, trabaj en radiaciones at micas en el Laboratorio Curie, en Francia, y abandon definitivamente la ciencia en 1945 para dedicarse exclusivamente a la literatura Ha escrito varios libros de ensayo sobre el hombre en la crisis de nuestro tiempo y sobre

[PDF / Epub] ✅ Sobre héroes y tumbas Author Ernesto Sabato –
  • Paperback
  • 547 pages
  • Sobre héroes y tumbas
  • Ernesto Sabato
  • Spanish
  • 02 January 2019
  • 9789500716055

10 thoughts on “Sobre héroes y tumbas

  1. says:

    I can feel the passageof time, as thought it werecoursing through myveins, along with my blood It s not often I turn to google maps whilst reading a book In the case of Ernesto Sabato s 1961 novel I found it helpful but not essential The first third of the novel there didn t seem to be a moment without the mention of a specific area within the city, add to that an abundance of street names, landmarks and buildings, which initially bothered me Because the city in question and the setting for Sabato s unsettling masterpiece is Buenos Aires, a place apart from being in Argentina I knew absolutely nothing about It wasn t my intention to turn the city inside out, upside down and learn every street corner off by heart, but just to get a rough idea of the city s layout especially the area around the port.On finishing On Heroes and Tombs one of the most important things to mention is just how dark it was, and not just it s chilling tone It felt the whole city sat under a blanket of perpetual black skies, two of the three main characters suffered with great inner turmoil and suicidal madness, most of the novel takes place in the late evenings or the dead of night, there are dark rooms, hallways, and tunnels existing in an almost Kafkaesque like subterranean world, and to top it all off the Blind are obsessed over There is doomed love, a crazed family, terrorism, political unrest and eventually murder If Sabato s seminal short novel El T nel 1948 owed a debt to French existentialists, this mighty beast feels like a love letter to Buenos Aires But a letter covered in tears, sickness and blood Even poor old Jorge Luis Borges gets a cameo appearance, wondering down the street on a stick.The novel predominantly follows two narratives and various sub plots, the opening starts with young star crossed lovers Mart n and Alejandra Vidal Olmos, who meet by chance near a monument Mart n is just an ordinary man trying to find his way in the city, he loves her than she loves him, but Alejandra does have some serious issues, she is, to put it bluntly, insane.She takes him to the house of her family one night, where things turn eerie and creepy for the reader, building a slow sense of dread There is a crazy uncle who plays a musical instrument, and an elderly woman who has been living upstairs for decades without ever leaving the room, with only a mummified head for company Once Mart n gets over the shock he doesn t really care, just wanting to be with her Mart n is as sincere as he is bewildered in his amorous aspirations towards Alejandra, he seems a heartbroken sweetheart Whereas she is needy, demanding and cruel towards him On seeing her with another man he wants to know who Fernando is believing it s her lover, when he is actually her father The moment he mentions this name the relationship is heading in the direction of emotional disaster and psychological carnage, thus leading to an act of madness All this is the past, looked back on by Mart n and Bruno Bruno being a writer who knew Alejandra s family, and had feelings for her mother.The narrative then switches to Alejandra s father, Fernando Vidal, a quite morbid man, who has a ludicrous and damn right terrifying obsession with the Blind as a youngster he poked the eyes out of a sparrow and watched as it flew around the room in great pain and fear , he believes Blind people are part of some sort of secret sect, he watches them, follows them, and is the creator of the bizarre Report on the Blind Fueled by paranoia and intrigue he ends up in an old apartment building after seeing two individuals leave thinking they are part of the sect He entersThe next 30 40 pages were filled with what can only be described as an hallucinogenic, claustrophobic, nerve shredding, heart stopping fear It felt like a cross between Alfred Hitchcock under psychosis and Dante s Inferno, Sabato used such wild and inventive imagery I just couldn t believe my eyes, and simply couldn t put the book down In fact for long spells I couldn t put it down Around this point about half way through it was THAT GOOD.Everything I have mentioned above only happens on the surface, the novel goes deeper than that, making it exceptional to read It could be seen simply as a chilling love story, or tale of madness But than anything it s just as much a philosophical wonder on history The novel expands on landowning baronies and industrial development, civil war, and social and economical problems There are moments included that many non Argentinians may fail to fully understand.I don t want to give the impression that On Heroes and Tombs is a tedious allegorical book on Argentinian history Other sub plots do exist, but they are only important if you choose them to be, they can stay in the background if one pleases There is a certain type of fictional narrative whereby the writer endeavors to free himself of an obsession that is not clear, even to himself This appears to be the only sort Sabato could write.The novel was like entering a dark labyrinth of insanity, going on a guided tour, before being thrown back into our world A stunningly powerful and haunting piece of work.

  2. says:

    On Heroes and Tombs is a story of the great young blinding love and it is a story of the great love mystery.And there is a great dark story within the love story Report on the Blind God does not exist God exists and is a bastard God exists, but falls asleep from time to time his nightmares are our existence God exists, but has fits of madness these fits are our existence.That is the hypothetical nature of our existence according to the gospel of the blind Reading it I thought of Jorge Luis Borges who, despite being blind, could see much further than the others On Heroes and Tombs is the book of the Conscious and the Unconscious And it is a painstaking exposition on the subject of human existence Sometimes they are relatively young men, individuals thirty or forty years old And a curious thing, worth pondering the younger they are the pathetic and helpless they seem For what can be frightful than the sight of a youngster sitting brooding on a bench in a public square, overwhelmed by his thoughts, silent and estranged from the world round about him Sometimes the man or the youngster is a sailor at other times he is perhaps an emigr who would like to return to his country and is unable to many times they are beings who have been abandoned by the woman they love others, beings who are out of step with life, or who have left home forever, or are brooding about their loneliness and their future Or it may be a youngster like Mart n himself, who is beginning to realize, to his horror, that the absolute does not exist.The novel reads as though Ernesto Sabato is slowly opening a door into the great unknown There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors

  3. says:

    Sobre H roes y Tumbas On Heroes and Tombs, 1981, Ernesto S batoOn Heroes and Tombs is a novel by Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato 1911 2011 , first published in Buenos Aires in 1961, and translated by Helen R Lane in 1981 Nineteen year old Mart n Castillo is a boy from Buenos Aires trying to find his path in life He meets and falls in love with Alejandra Vidal Olmos who with her father Fernando represents the old , post colonial and autochthonous Argentina, which is seen mutating amid a strange and unsettling new world The novel gives an evocative portrait of the city of Buenos Aires and its people 2006 1384 599 9644482689 20

  4. says:

    An Argentine story in the labyrinthine tradition of the author s countryman, Borges Sabato is one of an entire boatload of Latin American authors who fled their countries for exile in Europe or the US during periods of military dictatorship When he returned to Argentina he died at 100 in 2011 Sabato burned all his work except for three novels, saying that he did not want to be remembered for mediocre work The last descendants of an old oligarchical family of Buenos Aires reside in a decaying mansion now in the midst of a factory and warehouse district So the family and the house are disintegrating The house is occupied by a spinster aunt who hasn t been out of the attic in half a century, a mentally challenged nephew who constantly plays the flute, and a 90 year old who is still reliving the wars of the 1800 s And did I mention a mummified, severed head of one of the ancestors What s that little keepsake worth on Antiques Roadshow A young man, still in his teens, runs into the one quasi functioning person who lives in the house a young woman who is an epileptic, a drug addict laudanum in those days , and an alcoholic And did I mention bi polar Obviously this young man never saw the movie Fatal Attraction The world is filth and I m garbage she tells him How does that work for you as a pick up line You can t say she didn t warn him Another crazy paranoid character, the young woman s father, does not live in the house but writes a Stephen Kingish treatise, contained in the book, about how The Blind have a secret conspiracy to control the world I wonder if Sabato means this as a metaphor for the types of slanders that were said of Jews during WW II See that blind man across the street I told you they were following us This is a long, dense book, almost 500 pages, sparse dialog, and occasional paragraphs that run than a couple of pages Tied up in the story is a lot of local color of Buenos Aires in the 1950 s and 1960 s and a search for the Argentine national character, if we believe in such things any Through stories from the old man and others, we hear about the wars of Argentina s independence from Spain, the quasi civil wars between liberals and conservatives fought over the years that the echo the Spanish Civil War and that continue to plague Latin American nations even today We hear of the Communist and anarchists movements of the 1950 s and the military dictatorships We are treated to deep thoughts we hope for great happiness, some enormous, total happiness And as we wait for this phenomenon to take place we let the little happinesses, the only real ones, pass us by For Argentina, a nation of immigrants In the end that had proved to be the real America for the immense majority poverty and tears, humiliation and pain, homesickness and nostalgia On our masks we are never the same person for different conversational partners, friends or lovers It fascinates me as a geographer, to see again as in some other Latin American stories, the motif that our family tree is written on the street names of the capital It s a poem by Borges and it s in Spilt Milk by Chico Baraque a Brazilian book as well All in all, a heavy duty read, but worth it.

  5. says:

    It is not clear to me why Sabato did not get Nobel Prize for literature This book is the masterpiece The plot is quite strange and it enabled Sabato to tell profound things about the world and human nature in general On Heroes and Tombs defenetly goes to my favorite shelf.

  6. says:

    WellI have a mixed feeling about this book.The first half of the book, consisting in two parts The Dragon and the Princess and Invisible Faces was one of the most intense reading I had so far and I was thinking that this is worthy of a 5 stars rating.But after that it s like you re reading a completely different book, wich can be a good thing, nonetheless, but I was captivated by the story between Martin and Alejandra and wanted to know of that, thus I was a bit dissapointed by the second half of the book It s interesting, but nothing compared with the first half, to me atleast.Overall, a great book.

  7. says:

    Decent review fromm 1981 point in that review that I disagree with most strongly is the idea that S bato isn t funny The third section of the book, Report on the Blind, is dark, twisted, and totally paranoid, but it s also a playful usage of an unreliable narrator It s funny like parts of Lolita are, although the author s literary intentions and overall sincerity level could not be different.Like Aira me thinks this to be a common trait to good Argentine novelists S bato switches mid page from fiction to personal essay, and unlike Aira, he manages to do that without breaking voice from his characters This is not exactly a feminist tract the dead woman at the book s center, while painted as strong willed and bright, exists as a kind of whorish and hyper objectified metaphor or prism to refract the experiences of the other main characters At the same time, the book is about how men parse the memories of women they ve once loved the immature objectification can on some level be seen as having been by design This might be too modern a lens for a book that s 50 years old, but it is a book that is so close to perfect, that articulates so much that is universal, that you would do it a disservice not to comment As much as this book reflects the author s biases, experience, and states of mind, it also aims to record and parse the overall character of 1960s Buenos Aires As one of the darkest and most beautiful passages from the apocalyptic and maddened Report on the Blind reads, in Helen Lane s translation the closer I came to the towers, the greater their majesty and mystery became There were twenty one of them, laid out in a polygon whose perimeter must have been comparable in size to that of Buenos Aires The stone that they were built of was black, basalt perhaps, and hence they stood out in solemn grandeur above that ashen plain and against that violet sky rent by the ragged purple clouds And though they were ruined by the ages and the cataclysm, their height was still awesome The NYT review also claims that S bato has it in for Borges I don t think that s the case I think he actually owes a slight debt to the writer While his characters offer a range of comment on Borges s work and the word offered last on the topic is a pretty strong dis , this novel doesn t necessarily read as the work of an anti Borges On the other hand, the presentation reminds me most of how Bola o presents Paz in The Savage Detectives which is not entirely unfriendly, but certainly if you had to choose oneS bato is still alive at 99.

  8. says:

    It totally blew me away One of the finest gems of Latin American literature that should not be missed An incredible dense and complex masterpiece, it dives without fear into dark and unexplored crevices of the human mind and soul with unbelievable style and intensity Hats off to Ernesto Sabato

  9. says:

    It took me a long time to read this because I kept going back to re read passages and episodes, and to do sketches of the characters faces as a visual support Sometimes I just indulged in going back to a particularly intense moment, in a book that is packed with them, and immerse myself into the awe of its horror, pathos or literary beauty This book was a hell of a ride, a remarkable journey down into the depths of human despair, a portrait of formidable weakness and formidable strength But at the same time, it s not a depressive, passive wandering in gloom, yet, somehow, there is a vibrant and vital awareness of an aggressive world that eludes understanding, of existence being held in the middle of an ongoing storm.Unlike The Tunnel , in which the usual process of the reader identifying with the protagonist narrator was made a tribulation due to the central figure being clearly disturbed, here we can go back to sympathizing with a comparatively sane person, albeit a tormented one, trying to cope and poorly, at that with his upbringing, his fatherland that Sabato would rather call motherland , his emotions, his misfortune in a calamitous world.The psychological aspects of the work are intermingled with historical and political reflections concerning Argentina in a period that spans mainly from the 19th century episode of the death of general Lavalle until the 1950 s, in which the story takes place, amidst all the chaos of the economic and social crisis that lead to the bombing of Plaza de Mayo Sabato reflects upon the shortcomings and historical misadventure of his nation, and reminisces about a society that has fallen by the wayside of history.The bold mosaic of this story, with its twists and turns and connected scenarios include much contemplation upon human condition and the inscrutable nature of life itself, in an ambiance that depicts the environment in which the author lived There s even a cameo appearance of none other than Borges himself, which much amused me But on the whole I was struck by many powerful and bewildering events that led up to the third part of the book, a document called report on the blind , with a narrative far closer to The Tunnel , in which we follow the musings of a demented man In fact, The Tunnel is even referred to in this section as if it were a true written account Naturally, the way the author adds these layers of reality and fiction strengthens the multidimensionality of the oeuvre in an interesting way.I can understand what Camus saw in this author, who presents close affinities with his own writing I was often reminded of the mastery of the dramatic tales of Maugham and the unsettling first person narratives of Nabokov There are great authors I personally find unreadable, such as Steinbeck, who writes so amazingly well yet it all seems crafted in order to be as depressive, sadistic and hopeless as possible This is different The world is grim and violent, but there is life, there is reaction, there is anger, and there is deep beauty to be found amidst all the turmoil.Having read the final page, I am left with the digestion of an astonishing meal that will not be forgotten A work of true excellence One of those landmarks in my reading history that shall stand tall in hindsight Caueat emptor I preferred reading a Portuguese translation since it is far closer to the original than an English translation However, I should perhaps have tracked down the book in Spanish, since the only version I believe ever printed in Portuguese other than Brazilian translations is this 1973 edition by Europa Am rica, a printing house whose quality standards were often lacking, and so, even though I found the translation smooth and well done, there are occasional typos and mistakes, and I even realized that the small closing paragraph of section III of the third part of the book is simply absent.

  10. says:

    Ernesto Sabato began his professional life as a scientist, first garnering a PhD in physics from Argentina s Universidad Nacional de La Plata and then proceedings to the Sorbonne and the Curie Institute In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sabato would abandon science in favour of writing, producing fiction, essays, and translations until well into the 21st century Though Sabato would only produce three novels THE TUNNEL in 1948, ON HEROES AND TOMBS in 1961, and THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS in 1974 each would occupy a central place in Argentina s postwar literature, garnering significant and persistent international attention in turn He evidently had a tendency to burn his manuscripts, having repeatedly come to find them unsatisfactory, and has said himself that ON HEROES AND TOMBS, generally considered his masterpiece, narrowly averted such a fate Perhaps one will be inclined to think of the legacy of Nikolai Gogol both for this reason and others Sabato s principal legacy in his homeland may be related to the fundamental role he played in the national reckoning concerning missing and disappeared persons following Argentina s Dirty War of 1976 to 1983, after which military dictatorship gave way to a return to nominal democracy and a general campaign of truth and reconciliation In his introduction to the recent Gondine edition of ON HEROES AND TOMBS, containing the same English translation the company first published in 1981 whose edition may well also have contained said introduction , David William Foster helps place matters in context, even if his prose is oftentimes almost outrageously clunky Foster notes the debt in Sabato s short first novel, THE TUNNEL, to the the French existentialists Albert Camus himself would prove an outspoken advocate for the book While Sabato s time in France may have something to do with this influence, there was in Argentina at the time a pronounced Francophile tradition, and much important French literature of the period was being translated into Spanish first in Buenos Aires Foster proceeds to discuss how Sabato would go on to work on NUNCA M S, the report on extrajudicial malfeasance produced by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons ON HEROES AND TOMBS is shown to present itself as something like an interpretation of Argentina profunda in which the individual human event only makes sense as an embodiment of great forces of national history A curdling focus on the legacy of the country s grand baronies and the parallel universe of savage capitalism ultimately serves a fairly unambiguous critique Foster believes that the novel succeeds because it is a strongly eloquent exposition of human lives within important historical parameters, both in terms of contemporary conflicts as well as reinscriptions of historical patterns All of these latter claims, those concerning ON HEROES AND TOMBS specifically, do very much stand up following a direct engagement with the text, but it is testament to the extraordinarily rich masterpiece in question that what it presents us of human lives in relation to historical patterns can and ought to be addressed at great length I certainly intend to do my best given the parameters endemic to my venue, but suffice it to say that there cannot be all that many 20th century novels out there demonstrably available for the all in dissertation treatment Thomas Mann also admired Sabato One can see why I certainly thought of Gogol and Dostoevsky, I certainly thought of Camus and Sartre, but I also very much thought of the Mann of DOCTOR FAUSTUS At the level of reinsciptions of historical patterns, as David William Foster phrases it this is precisely where national specificity most nakedly asserts itself The legacy of specific 19th century conflicts, civil wars, and emancipatory campaigns is everywhere evident, from key events at Quebracho Herrado, around which much contemporary business in the novel pivots, to the interjection of spectral presences such as that of writer and president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who led Argentina from 1868 to 1874 Contemporary history is likewise foregrounded, itself perhaps a matter of modes of reinscription Part Two of ON HEROES AND TOMBS culminates in narrative events that occur simultaneously with the failed coup of June 1955 The backdrop here is the famous paranoid schizophrenia of Juan Per n and Per nism When I was studying Argentine cinema at university around the turn of the century, watching films such as H ctor Olivera s FUNNY DIRTY LITTLE WAR from 1983, I recall hearing stories of leftwing and rightwing elements engaging in street battles, both sides shouting Per n vive or analogous Per nist catchphrases Such ideological mutations speak to a quality of madness, wretchedness, and intergenerational trauma that lies at the heart of Ernesto Sabato s in large part existential vision Note the following mediation, characteristic of ON HEROES AND TOMBS national vision our misfortune as Argentines was that we had not yet finished building a nation when the world that had first given birth to it began to creak ominously and then collapse, so that here in this country we did not have even that simulacrum of eternity represented in Europe or in Mexico or in Cuzco by great stone structures centuries old Because here Bruno used to say we are neither Europe nor America, but a region of faults and fractures, an unstable, tragic, turbulent area where everything cracks apart and is ripped asunder What we are treated to in the above passage would appear to be the ideas of the middle aged writer and intellectual Bruno as filtered through the sensibility of Mart n, a much younger man, still in his teens when the novel commences, who has been introduced to the seemingly dispassionate older sage by his the younger man s volatile inamorata Alejandra I say that this is what the passage would appear to be in that the First, Second, and Fourth Parts of the novel are narrated in the third person though in a remarkable and unconventional way, such that by Part Four especially in the aftermath of its exceedingly lengthy third chapter, performing as said chapter does a staggering feint of narrative voice we will invariably have unresolved and perhaps unresolvable questions about who is speaking But I digress ON HEROES AND TOMBS begins both before it begins and directly before its denouement Let me explain Part One is preempted by a Foreword which presents itself as an excerpt from a police report published in a Buenos Aires newspaper on June 28, 1955 This report details a recent incident in which a young woman named Alejandra shot her father to death with four bullets from a.32 caliber pistol and then burned herself alive along with her father s corpse in the Mirador a small tower or belvedere Alejandra used as a bedroom The report notes that the event has created a sensation only enhanced by the fact that this old Argentine family had been a prominent one Further, the discovery of a document titled Report on the Blind, evidently written by Fernando Vidal, Alejandra s father, would seem to indicate not only that Fernando Vidal was a full blown paranoiac, but also lends itself to certain interpretations that throw light on the crime and make the hypothesis of an act of madness less plausible than another sinister, obscure explanation This event, Alejandra s murder of her father and subsequent self immolation, serves as the basic fulcrum of ON HEROES AND TOMBS Parts One and Two take place before the event, Part Three is comprised exclusively of Fernando Vidal Olmos s aforementioned Report on the Blind, simply transcribed as it were , and Part Four occurs in the aftermath of the conflagration It will not be the only conflagration in the novel There are the aerial bombardments of the failed coup and the consequent settling afire of a church There is also Fernando s Report on the Blind, which itself crescendos in the form of a total psychic conflagration, a descent into Inferno, which we might say makes the psyche in question analogous to a nation that is, as already quoted, a region of faults and fractures unstable, tragic, turbulent everything cracks apart and is ripped asunder Parts One and Two depict a violently unharmonious courtship between young Mart n and Alejandra, who is only about a year older than Mart n but infinitely worldly Mart n is sitting on a park bench before a Statue Of Ceres, goddess of fertility and agriculture beloved by the Romans, when he first meets Alejandra, entering as a spectral force, perhaps in possession of supernatural powers She presents as a captivating and perhaps deadly well, certainly deadly agent of destiny Of Mart n He was terrified by human beings they seemed to him not only unpredictable, but above all perverse and filthy Statues on the other hand brought him a quiet happiness they belonged to a beautiful, clean, ordered world Mart n s world is about to comprehensively lose all sense of order Alejandra is capricious, emotional, traumatized, and extremely intense She is also utterly elusive, and Mart n s codependent attachment produces in him a fraught species of anguish Alejandra lives in the fateful Mirador, where for many years up until 1932 a gentle madwoman named Escol stica lived with the severed head of her father, Colonel Bonifacio Acevedo, part of a grim genealogy connected to the aforementioned events involving the Olmoses at Quebracho Herrado, a key Civil War battle of 1840 We also meet Alejandra s ninety five year old great grandfather, Pancho Perhaps there flowed through him that silent, latent life, close to eternity, that flows through lizards during the log winter months Mart n s codependency and self seriousness comes from a long literary legacy of tortured young supplicants of love, tormented and prone to catastrophization, foremost among them Goethe s Werther and his heirs in Dostoevsky and elsewhere If I found Mart n s clingy abjection unpleasant, it can only seem all the so when I reflect on my own conduct and distemper at his age, my having experienced similar turmoil and having conducted myself equally pitifully in my late teens during my formative struggles with romantic love and its harrowing disconsolations The older Bruno, who becomes Mart n s regular interlocutor, is clinical and cool headed, not unlike one of the ghostly, passive, almost reservedly obsessive intelligences in the later masterpieces of Spanish novelist Javier Mar as, himself an anatomist of national historical traumas Bruno is the novel s most sober philosopher By way of him we are treated to deft considerations of the idea of hope as immutable precondition pessimism doesn t defeat hope, it merely inflects it, providing it a baleful cast , the necessity of the individual s workaday adoption of a multiplicity of masks, and the laws of destiny which in ON HEROES AND TOMBS becomes connected to heredity in a manner similar to how it does in Zola s LA B TE HUMAINE We will also come to discover that Bruno has known Fernando since both were youths and loved Alejandra s mother who was Fernando s first cousin and is apparently still alive, though she has long since fled the scene Bruno also happens to introduce Mart n to the great Jorge Luis Borges, whom the two encounter in the street by chance Borges does not appear to be blind insofar as he presents in the passage in question, but it is interesting in the extreme that since this is 1955 we are talking about, this would very much be around the time that Borges lost his sight Bruno says of Borges What I m certain of is that his prose is the most remarkable of any being written in Spanish today But his style is too precious for him to be a great writer Can you imagine Tolstoy trying to dazzle his readers with an adverb when it s a question of the life or death of one of his characters But not everything in Borges s works is Byzantine far from it There s something Argentine in his best things a certain nostalgia, a certain metaphysical sadness If Sabato is closer as a novelist to the 19th century Russians than he is to Borges, it is clear that he is himself connected to a tradition of nostalgia and metaphysical sadness, though torment is a better word than sadness for what Sabato himself mobilizes In Part Three, The Report on the Blind, Fernando Vidal Olmos writes about his years pursuing an international organization of the blind which he believes has performed a central and diabolic role explicitly occult in human affairs for centuries Fernando addresses the existence both of a Sect of the Blind and of a Library of the Blind, the latter terminology making it difficult indeed not to think of Borges Both Bruno and Fernando were involved to varying extents in anarchistic banditry earlier in their lives, and it is the cruel and immoral Fernando who has taken his war against society down a dark and paranoid avenue, able to perceive nonetheless that his exploration of the universe of the blind has been at the same time the exploration of his own dark world Certainly the blind present us with loaded conceptual asocciations on account of not being able to see, mirrored nicely in a passage in Part Four of the book where Bruno recounts a grave game of hide and seek played in the dark very evocative of later stuff from Javier Mar as , but I think what the blind most properly represent in ON HEROES AND TOMBS is merely a particular subset of the earth s wretched The sense is that Fernando Vidal singles out the blind early in his life almost au hasard, simply on account of their always having made him uneasy I thought of the title of Frantz Fanon s THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH numerous times whilst reading ON HEROES AND TOMBS, made all the natural on account of the English translator Helen R Lane having opted to use the words wretched or wretchedness in key passages Young Mart n perhaps embodies most explicitly a kind of universal existential wretchedness Alejandra and her father represent a wretchedness that is heredity and genealogy within specific historical parameters come to consummation in the enactment of a macabre destiny Frantz Fanon found the wretched living in those lands laid waste physically and spiritually by colonial exploitation Sabato sees the wretched as a product of his own nation s history, from the deranged oligarchs down to street kids such as literary slum genius Roberto Arlt, discussed in the novel on two occasions And though he perhaps intuits it, situating it provisionally on the horizon as something not unlike a numeral x, the writer of ON HEROES AND TOMBS cannot know with any precision of the very ugly history directly up ahead a history in which he would find himself a key participant, an anointed healer, or potential one.

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