I’m going to try and talk about Manuel Puig regularly over the next couple of months on this site. This is partly because The Buenos Aires Affair–with my introduction–is publishing from the Dalkey Archive in late August, and partly because I regard Puig as an essential author.
Quite frankly, Puig is a classic of Argentine literature and a hugely important author for contemporary literature, and it’s about time we have his books back in print. In the upcoming weeks I hope to be making evident some of my reasons for why he should be read, as well as why he should be particularly read now.
The publication of The Buenos Aires Affair will complete Dalkey’s work of bringing three Puig books back into print (the other two being Heartbreak Tango and Betrayed by Rita Hayworth. These–Puig’s first three novels–join Kiss of the Spider Woman (which has never been out of print) and Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages, currently available from the University of Minnesota.
As a first Puig tidbit, Three Percent has a review of Heartbreak Tango, which was Puig’s second book, his “breakout” bestseller which came just before The Buenos Aires Affair. Heartbreak bears a lot of the marks of Puig’s style–a mixture of high and low culture, huge debts to the mass media of the era (movies and radio soap operas), modernist devices, mock-objectivity through found documents, and, of course, immensely mordant prose that nonetheless manages to care about its characters.