The Tango Singer
Publication Date: May 16, 2006
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A hypnotic novel in which an American student's quest to find the greatest living tango singer leads him deep into the labyrinth of Argentina's past.
It is 2001, and inflation is spiraling out of control in Argentina as Bruno Cadogan, an American graduate student specializing in Borges, arrives in Buenos Aires. Cadogan is on the trail of Julio Martel, an elusive tango singer rumored to be even better than Carlos Gardel, the greatest singer of the 1920s and '30s. Martel has never recorded and his strange, powerful performances, at seemingly arbitrary sites around the city, are always unannounced.
Cadogan finds lodging in a boarding house rumored to be the setting of the famous Borges story "The Aleph," and soon finds himself drawn into the tangle of legends surrounding the singer's life. As the economic tension grows and the city hovers on the verge of riots, Bruno begins to believe that Martel's increasingly rare performances are in fact far from random--that they instead form a map of the darkest moments in the city's past.
Tomás Eloy Martínez is a journalist, a professor, and an award-winning and bestselling novelist whose books include Santa Evita and The Perón Novel. Born in Argentina in 1934, he lived in exile in Venezuela during the military dictatorship. He has lived in the United States since 1982 and is currently a professor and director of the Latin American Program at Rutgers University. He was shortlisted for the 2005 International Man Booker Prize.
Praise for Santa Evita:
"Brilliant... A superb craftsman, Mr. Martínez moves through stories of Evita's life and death--and the peregrinations of her body--with a dazzling array of literary devices...He affirms his place among Latin America's best writers."--New York Times
"For Martinez, this tale--which he relates in fetid, intoxicating prose, as eerily enticing as the faint odor of lavender--isn't just a way into his country's essence but into its soul."--Salon.com
"Finally, here is the novel that I have always wanted to read."--Gabriel García Márquez