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The Islands Paperback – 19 Apr 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Publisher: And Other Stories (19 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908276088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908276087
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Carlos Gamerro has written one of the most ambitious novels about the war.' Jonathan Blitzer, The Nation --------- 'Gamerro picks history's what-the-fuck moments, which when found in fiction are so strange as to knock the reader momentarily out of the imaginary world.' Ben Bollig, The Guardian --------- 'Exhilarating, inventive and consistently absorbing.' Stuart Evers, The Guardian --------- 'A bravura piece of writing, with a cinematic sweep, sustained drama, and pitch-perfect dialogue.' Martin Schifino, The Independent --------- 'The reader is dragged headlong by Barnett's athletic translation - a highly addictive comic voice, its peaks of hectic farce underlaid by a delicate, deadpan absurdism.' Lorna Scott Fox, TLS --------- 'A weird and wonderful thriller - rife with surreal horror and rampant bad taste.' Anthony Cummins, The Observer --------- 'A genre-bending book' Anne McElvoy, BBC Radio 3, Night Waves --------- 'A generational, landmark novel' Andrew Graham Yooll, BBC Radio 3, Feature: Malvinas Madness --------- 'A danger-laden, mind-bending and ultimately redemptive quest. [...] There are more ideas here than most writers would fit in 10 novels.' Tom Bunstead, The Independent on Sunday --------- 'I urge you to find and read a copy of this important novel.' Matthew Crockatt, Huffington Post UK --------- 'A complex and ambitious exploration of how history is memorialised' Michael Sopp, The Literateur 'A dark and uproarious novel' Untitled Books --------- 'Gamerro displays great lyricism in his descriptions of the land of la pampa. He has a poet's touch on the visions and themes he explores throughout the story. It's a triumph.' Ed Hart, Sounds and Colours --------- 'Capacious in its scope; substantial in its themes; fluid in its movements; piercing in its wit; gripping in its horror, astringent in its social critique; and heartbreaking in its rendering of human frailties. Were it originally published in English, it would be a Booker Prize contender.' Rod Jackman, Philadelphia Review of Books --------- 'Gamerro's balls-out novel is a delirious mash-up - [His] gross, bleakly funny, violence-saturated satire of a psychologically damaged society hung up on impossible myth relies on epic hyperbole, masterfully translated by Ian Barnett. There is enough invention here for four novels, but this multilayered nightmare vision is deftly rendered and devastating in its intensity.' Siobhan Murphy, Metro (UK) [20 June 2012, not online] --------- 'Incredible powerful, keeping me alert and uncomfortable and deeply engaged on multiple levels from the intellectual to the dramatic.' Steve Himmer, Necessary Fiction

About the Author

Carlos Gamerro, born in 1962, is one of the most highly regarded contemporary Argentine writers. He has written four novels, including The Islands and An Open Secret (Pushkin Press). He adapted The Islands for a major theatrical production in 2011. Gamerro, who was brought up bilingually in English and Spanish, has translated Shakespeare, Auden, and Harold Bloom, and lectures in 20th century literature in Buenos Aires. --------- Ian Barnett hails originally from the Wirral, and lived in Oxford, Paris, Barcelona and Managua before moving to Buenos Aires in 1991. Since then he has translated many of the River Plate's leading writers. He has already translated Caarlos Gamerro's An Open Secret.


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By Eleanor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
The year is 1992 and Felipe Félix, an almost house-bound computer hacker, is summoned to investigate a murder committed in the sinister mirrored towers of Señor Tamerlán. Félix is a veteran of the Falklands war and ten years on the Malvinas still haunts his dreams and waking life. "The Islands" is part war novel, part dystopian thriller and the reader is never sure what is reality and what is the product of Félix's damaged mind.

Gamerro paints a vivid picture of both Buenos Aires and the Malvinas, creating nightmarish landscapes peopled with ridiculously grotesque characters. The human failings which led to the war and the horrific price paid by the combatants are savagely described and at times "The Islands" is very moving.

I did enjoy Gamerro's writing but the intensity hardly ever lets up and as one hectic set piece followed another I often felt weary. At times "The Islands" did feel overindulgent and, on reading that Gamerro had cut about a hundred pages for the English translation, I have to admit that I was glad it wasn't longer.
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Format: Paperback
I really, really enjoyed this book. The 'baroque fiction' (his term) style, (a sort of combination of the real and the hallucinatory,) captivated me and I cried at the end, (on a plane.) It's not perfect; sometimes the humour misses the mark a little, the narrative gets a little odd and it is overlong. But overall I thought it excellent. It might not to be everyone's taste, but everyone should at least try it.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up by chance in an Amnesty bookshop in late June - before it was officially published. The fact that it was already on sale there suggests that, like me, the person who had been sent it/read it had thought it not all it was cracked up to be.

I was genuinely disappointed by this book. It is far too long, verbose (God knows what it must have been like originally, Gamerro says he has cut over 100 pages off the original), repetitive as to the protagonist's doped out time, and could have covered the same material in about half of the space. I say this as someone who reads a huge amount of Latin American fiction, loves Argentine fiction (arlt, Borges, Bioy Casares, etc.). But this is not a patch on any of it, and I found it extremely disappointing.

Having said that, it's every bit as good as most contemporary British fiction, and you could do worse. It has some good descriptions of the Malvinas, and of its impact on Argentine society in the late 80s/early 90s. Just don't expect a great novel, and don't believe the reviews. Nick Caistor's in particular is a big disappointment, he must know this is not a patch on much of the great work that he has translated (including RobertoA rlt's great novel, The Seven Madmen - which, interestingly, is about a third of the length of this, and deals with similar themes for its time.....)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0f546f0) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0871888) out of 5 stars A baroque novel 26 April 2015
By Eleanor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The year is 1992 and Felipe Félix, an almost house-bound computer hacker, is summoned to investigate a murder committed in the sinister mirrored towers of Señor Tamerlán. Félix is a veteran of the Falklands war and ten years on the Malvinas still haunts his dreams and waking life. "The Islands" is part war novel, part dystopian thriller and the reader is never sure what is reality and what is the product of Félix's damaged mind.

Gamerro paints a vivid picture of both Buenos Aires and the Malvinas, creating nightmarish landscapes peopled with ridiculously grotesque characters. The human failings which led to the war and the horrific price paid by the combatants are savagely described and at times "The Islands" is very moving.

I did enjoy Gamerro's writing but the intensity hardly ever lets up and as one hectic set piece followed another I often felt weary. At times "The Islands" did feel overindulgent and, on reading that Gamerro had cut about a hundred pages for the English translation, I have to admit that I was glad it wasn't longer.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xaa35b924) out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 Nov. 2014
By HASAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
item as described
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