“The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years” by Ricardo Piglia and translated by Robert Croll— The Second Volume

Piglia, Ricardo. “The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years”, translated by Robert Croll, Restless Books, 2018.

 The Second Volume

Amos Lassen

It has been about a year since I reviewed the first volume of Ricardo Piglia’s “The Diaries of Emilio Renzi” and I have been waiting for the second volume to be published. It focuses on Piglia’s alter ego (Renzi) as his literary career is beginning and covers the years from 1968 until 1975. During this time, he ran a magazine and worked as a publisher. He met with some of the literary elite including Borges, Puig, Roa Bastos, Piñera and he soon joined them as one of the important Latin America writers.

Piglia tells us that in order to really know what literature really is, one must write and he did. He showed us what it written word and all that it represents. He takes us into what I call the “literary ghetto” and introduces us to the brilliance there while at the same time, Argentina was dealing with Peron and the military coup. We see Piglia as he shifts from not knowing who he is to becoming a prominent voice in the Spanish-speaking world and a literary genius.

Piglia received many prizes for his work and is universally acclaimed as a transformative writer. His monumental work is this projected three volume fictional journal that is a celebration of literature. He was determined to become one of the literati and he succeeded in ways he had not considered. Many consider him to be the heir to Borges and the best writer since Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He writes in the grand tradition of Kafka, Woolf and his contemporary Philip Roth whose Nathan Zuckerman appears to be something of a model for Emilio Renzi. Piglia takes us into his mind through his writings and he blesses us with glorious prose wonderfully translated by Robert Croll. There is a great deal here in the tradition of the greats of world literature but I am not about to spoil a wonderful read by writing about them now. I want you to have that pleasure.

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