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(05/15/2008) The Outsider by Ernesto Sabato. New York. 1950. Knopf. Translated From The Spanish By Harriet De Onis. keywords: Literature Translated Argentina Latin America. 177 pages. Jacket design by ALVIN LUSTIG. Originally published in Spanish as El Tunel, 1945.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'I am Juan Pablo Castel, the painter who killed Maria Iribarne. Everybody knows that I killed Maria. But nobody knows how I became acquainted with her, just what the relations between us were, and how I developed the idea of killing her. I shall try to tell everything impartially.' So begins this compact, explosive short novel by a new star in the literary galaxy. The rest of the book is the pell-mell, at times breathless explanation of how Castel first saw Maria, how he searched the streets, buildings, and byways until he found her again, how she became his mistress, how he was involved with her cousin and the blind scholar to whom she was married - and how and why he had, at last, to kill her. Albert Camus recommended to his French publishers that they bring out this extraordinary piece of psychological yarn-spinning by a young Argentine. We are proud to bring it to the attention of American readers. A book of genuine literary distinction, The Outsider is also a real spellbinder.

Ernesto Sabato was born in 1911 in Rojas, Argentina. He is of Italian descent, his mother having been a member of the Cavalcanti family. He showed an early interest in both writing and painting, but went to an engineering school, as he says, 'for family reasons. ' At nineteen he became involved in his country's turbulent political situation and was forced into temporary exile. Suffering violent attacks from both the extreme Left and the extreme Right, he returned to Argentina to earn his living as a journalist, radio and motion-picture librarian, publicity man, book editor, translator, ana tutor. He has traveled widely in both Europe and the United States. His first book, 'a sort of dictionary of my life,' was published in 1945, and won him several Argentine literary prizes. THE OUTSIDER, his second book, was an immediate success in Spanish and became the first Argentine novel to be translated for publication by the Nouvelle Revue Francaise when Albert Camus and Roger Caillois recommended it for French readers. Sabato is married and has two sons. He lives in a suburb of Buenos Aires. Aside from writing, he says, he has two ambitions: to play folk music on the accordion and to paint well. 

 

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