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Tango for a Torturer Paperback – 20 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (20 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852428740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852428747
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 910,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

?Stylish, amusing and full of sex? The Guardian

About the Author

Born in Uruguay, Daniel Chavarría was for many years Professor of Latin, Greek, and Classical literature, devoting much of his time and energy to researching the origins and evolution of prostitution. He has won numerous literary awards around the world including the 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award and the 2002 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Paperback Original for Adios Muchachos.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Lieberson Film London on 1 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
Chavaria is a master of the noir. if you are interested in sex, suspense, mystery and a great story this is the one for you.
also worth checking ADIOS MUCHACHAS by same writer.
For anybody with an interest in Cuba and the noir genre this is a must.
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By DanSim on 21 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
Daniel Chavarria knows how to put together a plot, and his knowledge of conditions in both Cuba and much of the rest of Latin America (and the world) - he arrived in Cuba back in the late 1960s on a plane that he had hijacked for his family to escape from persecution in Colombia - makes this book so much better than the ones written by foreigners who merely use Cuba as an exotic setting without any real knowledge of the country.
This story about a Uruguayan torturer seeking refuge in Cuba, of all places, captures your attention from the first few pages to the very end. The book not only entertains you, it also teaches you about Latin America, Cuba and the Cubans.
Like the other reviewer I also recommend Chavarria's novel: Adios muchachos
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Persuasive Slice of Cuban Life 11 May 2007
By Author Bill Peschel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is it the tropical climate? Is it the tradition of Latin American literature? I don't know. All I know about Cuba is derived from "I Love Lucy," so take that into account when I say that Daniel Chavarria's "Tango for a Torturer" comes across as an authentic slice of life in Cuba.

Alberto Rios, a military torturer living the retired good life in Cuba is spotted by Aldo Bianchi, one of his former victims, who plots to frame him for a man's death. Helping him is his mistress, Bini, who's incredibly hot but also emotionally unstable.

It's set in Cuba, but Castro makes as much an appearance as George Bush would in my life. He's background noise. Instead, we're given the native's tour, of people scraping by from day to day, working at their jobs, making a little money on the side, staying out of trouble and taking time to live the good life when they can afford it.

But there's some political moments. Rios (aka Triple O) is a psychotic who made torturing political prisoners his career. Reading that he perfected his craft at Devil's Horn, Fla., and Fort Paramount, Ga., raises the point that the uses of persuasion (as Rios would put it) wasn't institutionalized by Bush, no matter what Seymour Hersh says.

Chavarria loves to take little side trips with the story. There's Dr. Azua, the defense attorney, a Cuban combination of Perry Mason and Nero Wolfe, who infallibly determines the guilt or innocence of his clients by laying hands on them. Then there's the homicide detective, Captain Bastidas, called in to investigate the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in the rain. I can tell you much about his life, but he plays his role early on and doesn't show up again.

What would a New York editor make of this? Would she read the nine pages devoted to a surprise party for Aldo, or the 11 pages at the end describing another party, this time in prison, and suggest they'd be cut back? There's also plenty of backstory about Rios and his career as a torturer (or as he would tell himself, as an expert in the science of persuasion), about Bini's life, from a little girl to doing time in prison and her work as a mistress. Are all these details really necessary?

But I wouldn't cut a word. Maybe they do things different in another country. Perhaps it's the reader, trained to read books with tight plots, minimal digression, and endings that seem drawn more from genre fiction -- the biter biting, the worm turning, the fatal weakness lifting the lever of tragedy -- than from the concatenation of events. Whatever. Reading this takes you out of the country and into a very different but familiar world. It's a cool book.
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