On Elegance While Sleeping

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On Elegance While Sleeping
Viscount Lascano Tegui, translated by Idra Novey
2010, Dalkey Archive Press
200 pages

THOUGH little known outside Argentina and, like some celebrated contemporaries, an author who fashioned his literary career in Europe, Viscount Lascano Tegui (1887-1966) – real name Emilio, he was a self-styled viscount and highly eccentric – was a renegade hero of Latin American literature. After many employments, his position as translator for the International Post Office took him to Europe, where he began writing literature. He mingled with great talents, among them Picasso and Apollinaire, and writes with a provocative yet dreamy style that is without doubt entrancing. On Elegance While Sleeping charts the disturbing descent of an oversensitive man towards murder, and combines personal reflection with macabre detail in a form of gothic. Novey’s translation has rendered a mesmerising tale that one earnestly hopes should confirm this largely unknown author’s place in the international canon. – GJ

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