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The Shipyard Hardcover – 1 Jun 1968

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Scribner (Jun. 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9997555341
  • ISBN-13: 978-9997555342
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,723,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The Graham Greene of Uruguay... foreshadowing the work of Beckett and Camus (Sunday Telegraph ?The Onetti experience is a curious one: readers end up feeling that they understand life better after a stay in this ghostly, tantalising world, only to lose the wisdom they have gained after a few hours of release from the spell. The f the flavour inimitable? Guardian ?Onetti)

s voice and subject matter are his own... his work is always on a knife-edge... He is laconic, elegant, literary? London Review of Books ?This literary landmark is here delivered in a wonderful translation that retains all the bleakness and poetry of the antihero Larsen as he attempts to salvage the unsalvageable? Independent on Sunday 'Combining the alienation of Camus with the fatalism of Eeyore (Guardian ?Onetti?s poetic prose captures Larsen?s world, be it mad or confused and makes The Shipyard absorbing reading? Morning Star) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Acknowledged as one of the great Latin American writers of the twentieth century, Juan Carlos Onetti was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1909. For many years he worked as a journalist in Buenos Aires. His novels include The Well, No Man's Life, and his best known work, The Shipyard. He was awarded Uruguay's national literature prize in 1963 and Spain's prestigious Cervantes Prize in 1980. He lived in Madrid until his death in 1994. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
Anyone unfamiliar with the fictional world of Carlos Onetti can do no better than start here, with this melancholic story of urban alienation and defeat. As grim as this sounds, Onetti's genius translates the bare facts of existential despair into something transcendent and life enhancing. The central figure Larsen returns to the mysterious city on the River Plate to take up the offer of a job at a rusting Shipyard - a position suitably fitting for a distinguished gentlemen. Yet the reality of this exalted 'position' proves to be no more substantial than the existence of the fabled 'owner' of this failing enterprise. Larsen's odessy around the city and the varied characters he encounters fail to offer any enlightenment but begins to awaken in him an awareness of some intangible power and longing - a feeling of ultimate finitude and grace. His ostensible defeat is merely the ground or pretext for his spritual awakening which enables him to face his own mortality with a stoicism and courage that transcends the sordid reality of his life. This is a powerful and original novel of urban alienation that avoids the obvious comparison with Camus and Sartre because Onetti has absorbed much modern thought and translated this into a unique poetic language of great power and subtlety. Onetti is the urban novelist par excellence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book before from the public library - I bought it now they've disposed of it - I noted when trying to buy it that public libraries everywhere have sold it off. Camus and Sartre with the despair meet Runyon and Dos Passos with the hard boiled transatlantic style!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously quality writing. The Uruguayan writer was called the South American Graham Greene.
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One of the few options to read Onetti in English.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x989c0e10) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x987974c8) out of 5 stars an unknown Latin American classic 31 July 2001
By Bálint Hancz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's a shame that Onetti's oeuvre is almost unknown outside the Spanish-speaking countries, maybe because it is the complete opposite of the much popular magic realism and the way we think about Latin-American literature in general. His most famous work, The Shipyard could have been written by an European author, and even its setting could be anywhere in the world, it is so out of time and place. There are no examples of tropical flora or fauna here, and the story is also opposed to the Marquez-like swirling of fascinating anecdotes and fantastic stories. It simply tells the story of Larsen a. k. a. Juntacadaveres, or Corpse Collector (who earned his name because he ran a brothel with ugly and old prostitutes) returning to his hated city, and get a job in a wrecked shipyard, out of service from years and then... nothing happens. Still this nothing is fascinatingly described in long, carefully written sentences. All the characters in the story are old, ugly and tired, they try to do something but halfway they realise that everything is worthless. They know that everything they do is only part of a farce just like running a factory that had been bankrupted long ago. There are no real dialogues here, the recurring phrase during this fake dialogues is He lied This may sound depressing and it is depressing, not recommended for those who hope the best days of their life are only coming. But it is also a great mirror to our behaviour, how we stick to things we know are not true, how we want to believe in things that are long gone.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98797528) out of 5 stars Existentialism without rhetoric 6 Jan. 2003
By Guillermo Maynez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a grim, gloomy and creepy but strangely attractive novel, very much representative of sixties' angst and the feeling that spread over the world during that time: the void of existence. This stream produced very good -and very bad- books, some of the best being those of Camus and a few others. Onetti is certainly one of the least known -especially outside the Spanish-speaking world- and best writers of this generation.
"The Shipyard" is the miserable story of a defeat foretold, to paraphrase García-Márquez, whose style is so far away from that of Onetti. Larsen, a fiftysomething man, is back in the fictitious Uruguayan town of Santa María, after five years of exile imposed by the governor. He is workless and depressed, but nonetheless he has a plan: to become General Manager of the local shipyard, owned by one Jeremías Petrus, and marry this guy's dumb daughter. And so he proceeds with his plan, showing up everydat at work, where he only interacts with his two co-workers, two men with no history and no future who seem to dislike him but nevertheless share meals with him. There is really nothing to do at the shop, since the business has been bankrupt for a number of years. Petrus insists the shipyard will be back in business soon, but we readers know it will never happen.
Is this novel any good? I say yes. Of course, as a philosophical school Existentialism is condemned to failure, ... -if it's true that life has no possible meaning at all. The characters are unlikable, with the possible exception of Larsen himself in a strange fashion. There is really no plot and we all know right from the start that the novel can not have any happy ending. Where is then the strength of the book? Well, in that it is very well written. Onetti reveals himself as a truly good creator of moods, environments, images. He has the power of taking you right there and making you see, hear and smell the same as the characters. His prose is direct, straight and non-experimental, thank God, since his is no magical realism at all but pure, crude and rude realism. The interest of the reader is sustained by the curiosity to see what will become of poor but somehow brave Larsen. I would say that, as far as Existentialism was able to produce good writing, this is one of the best bets you have.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98dc6144) out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Classic 31 Aug. 2001
By Solo Lei - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a Latin American classic read in most literature courses.
Best read in Spanish. The detailed use of words helps to better describe and understand the complete picture, the actions are relfected as a small part of what goes on.
Im no critic, just an interested reader and wish for all to take an interest in this book
HASH(0x987977b0) out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Dec. 2014
By Hector A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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