The Diaries of Emilio Renzi

Formative Years

The Diaries of Emilio Renzi

Introduction by: Ilan Stavans / Translated by: Robert Croll
“Cognizant of his impending death, Piglia, the Argentine titan of letters who died of A.L.S. in January, prepared his 327 notebooks for publication in a trilogy…. Splendidly crafted and interspliced with essays and stories, this beguiling work is to a diary as Piglia is to “Emilio Renzi”: a lifelong alter ego, a highly self-conscious shadow volume that brings to bear all of Piglia’s prowess as it illuminates his process of critical reading and the inevitable tensions between art and life.” —Mara Faye Lethem, The New York Times Book Review

A giant of contemporary Latin American literature, Argentine novelist Ricardo Piglia’s secret magnum opus was a compilation of 327 notebooks that he composed over nearly six decades, in which he imagined himself as his literary alter ego, Emilio Renzi. A world-weary detective, Renzi stars in many of his creator's works, much like Philip Roth's Nathan Zuckerman. But the Renzi of these diaries is something more complex—a multilayered reconstruction of the self that is teased out over intricate, illuminating pages.

As Piglia/Renzi develops as a reader and writer, falls in love, and tussles with his tyrannical father, we get eye-opening perspectives on Latin America’s tumultuous twentieth century. Obsessed with literary giants—from Borges and Cortázar (both of whom he knew), to Kafka and Camus—The Diaries comprise a celebration of reading as a vital, existential activity.

When Piglia learned he had a fatal illness in 2011, he raced to complete his mysterious masterwork as rumors about the book intensified among his many fans. First released in Spanish as a trilogy to tremendous applause, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi cements Piglia’s place in the global canon.
  • Restless Books | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781632061621 | 
  • November 2017
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