Review Of "Beer Cans In The Rio De La Plata" By J. Stamadianos

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Primarily a screenwriter and film director, Stamadianos has written an impressive first novel (originally published in Spanish in 1995) characterized by laconic yet expressive prose, taut structure, and fascinating characters who both repel and attract the reader. Ulysses Stavropulos, the novel's protagonist, is the son of hardworking immigrant parents who, unlike his epic namesake, yearns to escape from home and a destiny that has tied him and his family to a life of backbreaking work with little to show for it. The action occurs in an Argentina still reeling from the defeat suffered at the hands of the British in the Malvinas Islands. Plagued by a stagnant economy and the corruption of its politicians, Argentina leaves Ulysses and his generation with nothing but contempt for their homeland and the desire to start anew in the rich neighbor to the north. However, as Buenos Aires diminishes in the background while his boat heads out to sea, Ulysses realizes that despite physical distancing, he is still the son of an immigrant father--being buried at that very moment--the brother of a soldier buried in the Malvinas, and the father of twins now growing inside the wife he leaves behind. For collections of Spanish literature in translation, all levels.


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