book cover of The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata

The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata

A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
The Argentinian Bioy Casares was close to Borges and collaborated with him on occasion. This new novel is in the cool, bemused elitist style shared by both, but the tone is not consistently maintained by the translator. It is a tale about ordinary people told in a terse, distanced fashion, so that the potentially intriguing characters are curiously flat. Nicolas Almanza, a young small-town photographer, gets his first professional assignment, to photograph stills of the provincial capital of La Plata. On the train he meets Juan Lombardo, an elderly ne'er-do-well, and his two daughters. They immediately take him over, so that before he gets to the pension where his old hometown friend Lucio Mascardi awaits him, he is obliged to become Lombardo's blood donor. In the week he spends in La Plata, both of Lombardo's daughters get into his bed; indeed, every woman he meets is eager to do so. Everyone, too, warns him about the scheming Lombardos, but, with a mixture of naivete and wisdom, Almanza survives the worst of their schemes. Though the narrative ends ambiguously, one can surmise that Bioy Casares is telling us that innocence triumphs despite the world's evil.

Library Journal
Though warned to expect surprises in the city, young provincial photographer Almanza is hardly prepared for what transpires in La Plata. Just off the bus, he becomes entangled with the family of Don Juan Lombardo. Don Juan adopts Almanza as a look-alike for his estranged son, while his daughters, Julia and Griselda, find their way to his bed. Their attachment is a mystery. Is Don Juan an old-fashioned country gentleman--or a swindler out to collect on his son's insurance policy? Are his daughters sincere--or simply accomplices? Divergent elements fall into place somewhat after an attempt on Almanza's life. But even as he leaves La Plata with the beautiful Julia, things are not entirely clear. Realism and fantasy blend seamlessly in this dreamlike coming-of-age novel in which the ultimate mystery is life itself.-- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.

Genre: Literary Fiction

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