The Story of the Night

Colm Toibin, Author
Colm Toibin, Author Henry Holt & Company $23 (312p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5211-4
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-8050-5825-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7710-8556-7
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-0-330-34017-5
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-7710-8565-9
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-7432-7271-1
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7432-8464-6
Hardcover - 978-0-330-35233-8
Paperback - 311 pages - 978-0-330-34018-2
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In elegantly crafted prose, Irish author Toibin (The South; The Heather Blazing) delivers a rewarding narrative that blends themes of personal intensity and historical import. Set in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, the novel follows the fortunes of Richard Garay, a young man who is desperately lonely in a country where his homosexuality is still unacceptable, and who is further distanced--this is just after the Falklands War--by his British origins. These prove invaluable, however, when he becomes involved with the American diplomatic elite, ostensibly stationed there as ""advisers"" but in effect securing U.S. strategic interests as the military regime of the generals slowly ends. Although Richard prospers professionally as a translator and consultant, the furtive nature of his personal life leaves him unfulfilled until he meets Pablo. Their stable and loving relationship brings him happiness, and, through his new lover's visiting American friends, Richard glimpses the potential of gay life in a freer society. The book succeeds seamlessly on two levels. Through Richard's work, we get a fascinating view of Argentina in transition: the corruption of the old state; the manipulation of a troubled country by a superpower; the widespread shame over and denial of the political disappearances. Through Richard's own coming-of-age story, we also bear witness, in Toibin's evocative cadences, to a more international yet deeply personal crisis: the devastation of AIDS. Toibin writes with meticulous control and an understatement that makes the deeply moving and surprisingly consoling ending absolutely real. (May)
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