Triste's History

Jo Labanyi, Translator, Horacio Vazquez Rial, Author, Rial H. Vazquez, Author Readers International $18.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-930523-71-8
This powerful, skillfully crafted novel of political repression by the military junta in Argentina during the 1970s is written from the perspective of a member of the death squads. Cristobal Artola, known as Triste, is a hit man at the bottom of a hierarchy of assassins, a sad servant of fascism. Born in the slums of Buenos Aires to a washerwoman and a pimp, Triste grows up outside the law. After his mother dies, the streetwise youth works the pool halls for an underworld boss. Later, Triste is recruited by a cynical priest in the pay of the junta to help rid Argentina of its enemies. Triste fires into crowds at antigovernment demonstrations and kills Jews, Communists, strike leaders and other subversives. But after visiting a torture center and seeing the end result of the kidnappings he performs, his relationship with his employers changes and the novel moves toward its terrifying resolution. Rial's tale is unsparingly honest, narrated with detachment and a dreamlike clarity that make this ``unofficial story'' about Argentina's ``disappeared'' all the more haunting and persuasive. This is the first of the Argentinean author's novels to be published in English. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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