Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
The Seven Madmen
by Roberto Arlt, introduction by Julio Cortázar, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor
Brutal, uncouth, caustic, and brilliantly colored, The Seven Madmen takes its bearings from Dostoyevsky while looking forward to Thomas Pynchon and Marvel Comics.by Roberto Arlt, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor
Let’s say, modestly, that Arlt is Jesus Christ.
[Arlt] wryly memorialized the polyglot vitality of Buenos Aires as a menacing objective correlative of his own—and, by extension, modern man’s—alienation and psychic disintegration.
As Erdosian’s fantasies blur into reality, we are treated to a world reminiscent of the intense Georg Grosz paintings of sex murderers…Arlt’s magnum opus will lure new readers into a keenly rendered dystopia where official facts and psychic fictions tend to change places. His dark imagination uncannily foretold the impending political milieu.
So firmly rooted was Arlt in the explosive urban society and political culture of his time that his book is able to illuminate what was actually to happen during the first Peronist era in the 1940s and in the country’s later descent into violence in the 1970s after Juan Peron had returned as President for the last time. It is one of the great books of the 20th century.
A contemporary of Borges, Arlt is firmly part of the Argentine canon, having detailed life in Buenos Aires with an intimacy that neither Borges nor Cortázar ever achieved…Considered by most to be Arlt’s masterpiece, the 1929 novel Los site locos is poetic, absurd, and sobering…Nick Caistor’s remarkable re-translation of this idiosyncratic texture into the English language is immensely successful and must have been a painstaking process.
—Sarah Coolidge, The Quarterly Conversation