Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681375625
Pages: 176
Publication Date: October 26, 2021

The Silentiary

by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen, introduction by Juan José Saer

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An NYRB Classics Original

The Silentiary (1964) happens in a nameless Latin American city during the early 1950s. A young man employed in mid-level management entertains an ambition to write a book of some sort. But first he must establish the necessary precondition, which the crowded and noisily industrialized city always denies him, however often he and his mother and wife move house in search of it. He thinks of embarking on his writing career with something simple, a detective novel, and ponders the possibility of choosing a victim among the people he knows, and planning out a crime as if he himself were the killer. That way, he hopes, his book might finally begin to take shape.
 
This is the second of the three novels by Antonio Di Benedetto that have come to be known as the Trilogy of Expectation, after the dedication “To the victims of expectation” of the first one, Zama (1956). Together these three works constitute, in Juan José Saer’s words, “one of the culminating moments of 20th-century narrative fiction in Spanish.”