Juan José Saer

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Juan José Saer

Juan José Saer (June 28, 1937 – June 11, 2005) was one of the most important Argentine novelists of the last fifty years.

Born to Syrian immigrants in Serodino, a small town in the Santa Fe Province, he studied law and philosophy at the National University of the Litoral, where he taught History of Cinematography. Thanks to a scholarship, he moved to Paris in 1968. He had recently retired from his position as a lecturer at the University of Rennes, and had almost finished his final novel, La Grande (2005), which has since been published posthumously, along with a series of critical articles on Latin American and European writers, Trabajos (2006). In year 2012, a first installment of his previously unpublished working notebooks has been edited and published as "Papeles de trabajo" by Seix Barral in Argentina. A second volume followed, the result of five years of editing work by a team coordinated by Julio Premat, who writes the introduction of the first volume. These notebooks allow the reader a privileged insight into the creative processes of Saer. As critics point out, the books of Juan José Saer may be taken as a single "oeuvre", set in his "La Zona", a fluvial region around the Argentinian city of Santa Fé, populated by characters who are developed and become referential from novel to novel.

Saer's novels frequently thematize the situation of the self-exiled writer through the figures of two twin brothers, one of whom remained in Argentina during the dictatorship, while the other, like Saer himself, moved to Paris; several of his novels trace their separate and intertwining fates, along with those of a host of other characters who alternate between foreground and background from work to work. Like several of his contemporaries (Ricardo Piglia, César Aira, Roberto Bolaño), Saer's work often builds on particular and highly codified genres, such as detective fiction (The Investigation), colonial encounters (The Witness), travelogues (El río sin orillas), or canonical modern writers (e.g. Proust, in La mayor and Joyce, in "Sombras sobre vidrio esmerilado").

His novel La ocasión won the Nadal Prize in 1987. He developed lung cancer, and died in Paris in 2005, at age 67.

Several of his stories were turned into movies by his students, including Palo y hueso (Stick and Bone, 1968) directed by Nicolás Sarquís, Cicatrices (Scars) directed by Patricio Coll and Nadie Nada Nunca (No, No, Never, 1998) directed by Raúl Beceyro.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Julián Stoppello and Eliezer Budasoff (14 October 2009). "Sobre Washington Nogueira, Tomatis y Pichón Garay". Cultura en Paraná. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 

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