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The Tunnel [Paperback]

Ernesto Sabato
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

28 April 2011

Framed as the confession of a tormented outcast who has murdered the only woman capable of understanding him, Ernesto Sabato's The Tunnel has been acclaimed as a masterpiece by writers such as Albert Camus and Graham Greene. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Margaret Sayers Peden with an introduction by Colm Tóibín.

Infamous for the murder of Maria Iribarne, the artist Juan Pablo Castel is now writing a detailed account of his relationship with the victim from his prison cell: obsessed from the first moment he saw her examining one of his paintings, Castel had become fixated on her over the next months and fantasized over how they might meet again. When he happened upon her one day, a relationship was formed which swiftly convinced him of their mutual love. But Castel's growing paranoia would lead him to destroy the one thing he truly cared about...

Ernesto Sabato (1911-2011) was born in Rojas, a small town in Buenos Aires Province. He read physics at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and worked at the Curie Institute. After World War II, he lost faith in science and began writing fiction.

If you enjoyed The Tunnel, you might like Albert Camus' The Outsider, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Sabato captures the intensity of passions run into uncharted passages where love promises not tranquillity, but danger'

Los Angeles Times

'An existentialist classic ... Retains a chilling, memorable power'

The New York Times Book Review


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141194545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141194547
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'An existentialist classic ... Retains a chilling, memorable power' (The New York Times Book Review)

'Sabato captures the intensity of passions run into uncharted passages where love promises not tranquillity, but danger' (Los Angeles Times)

Heralded by Albert Camus and Thomas Mann and widely translated, ''The Tunnel'' is the brief, obsessive, sometimes delirious confession of a convicted murderer. (Robert Coover New York Times Book Review)

About the Author

Ernesto Sabato (b. June 24, 1911) was born in Rojas, a small town in Buenos Aires Province. He read physics at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and worked at the Curie Institute. After World War II, he lost faith in science and began writing fiction.

Margaret Sayers Peden is Professor of Spanish American Literature at the University of Missouri. One of the leading translators of her time, Peden has translated more than 40 books and has won numerous prizes and grants.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was Ernesto Sabato's first novel, originally published in 1948. It is now being re-published as a Penguin Classic and is certainly deserving of the word `classic'. This is basically the story of Juan Pablo Castel, an artist whose passions run very deep into very dark places. He starts his tale by admitting to killing the one person who truly understood his art and by extension him too.
It is then a monologue of him recounting how he met her, fell in obsessive love with her and how the tragedy reaches its' inevitable conclusion. This is a masterful work, but it is not an easy read and despite giving it the deserved five stars, which comes up as `I love it', I found i did not love it, but admired it. The story is too destructive, self obsessed and dark to be able to be loved. That then is the strength; Sabato has placed himself in the scary world of Castel and takes us on every twist and turn in this man's mind, to be able to justify his actions. Castel is a vividly unlikable man who looks down on everyone around him and sees artifice and cunning where none exists. This is possibly where he projects his own crooked ways of thinking onto everyone else.

He was praised by Albert Camus amongst others and I can see why as he truly gets under the skin of his creation and is flawless in his analytical approach, much like Camus. It was published as `El Tunel' which has been translated as The Tunnel or The Outsider, as you near the end you will see why `The Tunnel' is far more apt.

This is a short but not an easy read - what does work though is it stays with you for a long while after reading like `Heart of darkness' by Joseph Conrad and as such is an essential novel. I hope that with this re release that his work might find a new audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tunnel 22 May 2011
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When we meet the artist Jan Pablo Castel, at the beginning of this book, he is already in prison for the murder of Maria Iribarne. During the novel, Castel recounts the story of how he met and murdered Maria. He is first drawn to her at an exhibition, where she is staring at his painting, "Motherhood". Most people seem to ignore the tiny scene, framed in the left hand corner of the canvas, but for him it contains the meaning of the work. Seeing her attention focused on this, Castel is under the impression that this woman understands him and his work and he obsesses about her for months, dreaming up bizarre meetings between them. When he sees her by chance, on the street, he follows her into an office building and confronts her about the window in the painting. Then begins a series of meetings, usually punctuated by Castel becoming either enraged, jealous or argumentative, and leaving.

Castel begins a bizarre relationship with Maria, which is one sided and delusional. He stalks her and she seems unable to distance himself - nor are we sure she wants to. During the course of the book, Castel rants and rages in a frightening way and, of course, we know the outcome of the relationship. This is actually a very disturbing book and remarkably well written. During the novel, we see and hear everything from Castel's point of view and, although you never emphasise with him, you can understand his point of view in a terrifying way. This is a very powerful novel and would make an excellent book club choice, with much to discuss.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me 24 May 2011
By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thoroughly disliked this book. It is probably my own fault for ordering an "existential classic." I understand and have a good deal of sympathy with the existentialist notion that it is the responsibility of every individual to give meaning to his or her life, but I have never got on with most existentialist literature and wanted to have another try at finding out what people see in it. I thought that at least this wouldn't be the self-obsessed maunderings of another pretentious and self-regarding Frenchman and I was right - it isn't. Instead it is the self-obsessed maunderings of a pretentious and self-regarding Argentine.

The narrative consists of the thought processes, given in minute detail, of an artist with no regard for or understanding of others, who is socially completely inept and alienated from any other person. (Well, of course he is - it's an existentialist classic.) His own needs and desires are all that matter to him and this, coupled with a flawed and tortured internal logic, leads to the murder to which this is the confession. To give a small flavour of the tone of the book, the narrator sees a woman looking at one of his paintings in a certain way and, solely because of this, he decides that he needs her desperately but doesn't speak to her. He tries to think about how to find her again:
"The girl, I could assume, was in the habit of visiting art exhibits. If I saw her there, I could stop beside her and, without too much awkwardness, start a conversation about one of the paintings.
"After examining the possibility in detail, I abandoned it. I never go to art exhibits." (The last sentence is in italics in the text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and wonderful
Son read first and loved it,he passed on to friend, I am next in line. Looking forward to a geed read
Published 16 months ago by catherine kilcoyne
4.0 out of 5 stars Tunnel vision
The artist Juan Pablo Castel has killed Maria Iribarne and in this short book he tells us why. It's a simple idea and the chapters are short, a few pages at most. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2012 by Otto99
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really for me..
This book is really well written, innovative for its era, a fine premise however the story just did not enthral me. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars not my taste
I am sure I am not the best person to review this book, just not my taste. I have heard other have enjoyed this book, but ordered as part of the vine programme and just not for me,... Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by L. mckay
5.0 out of 5 stars A great short novel
This short novel is a wonderful existential piece that drew me in from the first page.

I love the way the reader is taken into the killer's mind, following him as he... Read more
Published on 15 Dec 2011 by Nicki J
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and disturbing
Definitely a classic but not to everyone's tastes. This short novel is a graphic first person descent into madness and murder which alienates and yet grabs you in with equal force... Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by Y. Yearwood
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worthy of the 'classic' label
The Tunnel is meant to be a classic crime based novel. It may well be about the criminal mindset, but it is in no sense a typical crime book, and definitely not a typical... Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2011 by J.E.T
1.0 out of 5 stars Zero star rating if that was possible
Sabato's "The Tunnel" is a mercifully short, totally underwhelming piece of writing that simply doesn't deserve the label "classic" in any sense of that over-used term. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2011 by Jl Adcock
4.0 out of 5 stars A true classic
This light weight book should be up there with the classic detective novels, although the feeling of it is somewhat darker. Read more
Published on 28 July 2011 by E. Chittenden
2.0 out of 5 stars Criminal Minds
What makes a killer? This is a question that has kept criminal psychiatrists in work for decades. The fact is that professionals can give you a list of certain factors that will... Read more
Published on 25 July 2011 by Sam Tyler
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