The Puig Renaissance

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.

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I’d say this is the final nail in the coffin — I have to revisit Puig. I read Kiss of the Spiderwoman a few years back and enjoyed it a little, but not nears enough to return to him. Now I’m wondering if I didn’t walk in with the wrong mindset because I wasn’t expecting much from the person who handed me the book.

Looking forward to your thoughts — I’ve been curious about Puig for a long time but have never come across his novels at the right moment. Are they all made entirely from dialogue, or something like that? Anyway, good for you and for Dalkey Archive.

Have to say I’m looking forward to the introduction. More than the book itself maybe, I don’t really know Puig all that well, maybe this will be a good reason to catch up.

I’ll look forward to the posts. I have Betrayed by Rita Hayworth on my wishlist, not quite sure why but it really struck me as something I want to read. More insight on Puig would be very welcome.

[…] of Personality Manuel Puig and the Performance of PersonalityShareThis is my second post of a promised series explaining why the postmodern Argentine author Manuel Puig demands to be read today. As a reminder, […]

[…] Puig and the Performance of Personality This is my second post of a promised series explaining why the postmodern Argentine author Manuel Puig demands to be read today. As a reminder, […]


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