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The Suicides

The Suicides

by Antonio Di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen

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A reporter’s boss assigns him to cover three unconnected suicides. The news agency wants to syndicate the story to color magazines, “For the blood, so the red is visible.” All he’s given to go on are photos of the faces of the dead.

As he starts to investigate, other suicides happen. An archivist colleague, a woman, supplies factoids from history, anthropology, biology, and philosophy: suicide by men, women, families, animals; thoughts on suicide from Diogenes, the Tosafists, Hume, Schopenhauer, Durkheim, Mead.

A photographer assigned to work with him—also a woman—snaps pictures of the bodies and the family members of the dead, who speak of subterfuge, hypochondria, madness, a secret society, a body exhumed to be mutilated. During one of the interviews, in a widow’s tiny apartment, a huge dog hurls himself against a plate glass window again and again, lunging at the birds beyond.

The Suicides is the third volume of Antonio Di Benedetto’s Trilogy of Expectation, called “one of the culminating moments of twentieth-century narrative fiction in Spanish” by Juan José Saer. Following Zama (set during the final decade of the 18th century) and The Silentiary (set during the 1950s), the trilogy’s final work takes place in a provincial city at the end of the 1960s, which is also when it was written and published, as Argentina plummeted towards the Dirty War. Its protagonist, once again, is a man in his early thirties, stymied and in search of an elsewhere.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681378862
Pages: 136
Publication Date:


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