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A Dream Come True: The Collected Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti

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A Dream Come True collects the complete stories of Juan Carlos Onetti, presenting his existentialist, complex, and ironic style over the course of his writing career. Onetti was praised by Latin America's greatest authors, and regarded as an inventor of a new form and school of writing. Juan Carlos Onetti's A Dream Come True depicts a sharp, coherent, literary voice, encomp A Dream Come True collects the complete stories of Juan Carlos Onetti, presenting his existentialist, complex, and ironic style over the course of his writing career. Onetti was praised by Latin America's greatest authors, and regarded as an inventor of a new form and school of writing. Juan Carlos Onetti's A Dream Come True depicts a sharp, coherent, literary voice, encompassing Onetti's early stages of writing and his later texts. They span from a few pages in "Avenida de Mayo - Diagonal - Avenida de Mayo" to short novellas, like the celebrated detective story "The Face of Disgrace" and "Death and the Girl," an existential masterpiece that explores the complexity of violence and murder in the mythical town of Santa María. His stories create a world of writing which is both universal and highly local, mediating between philosophical characters and the quotidian melodrama of Uruguayan villages.


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A Dream Come True collects the complete stories of Juan Carlos Onetti, presenting his existentialist, complex, and ironic style over the course of his writing career. Onetti was praised by Latin America's greatest authors, and regarded as an inventor of a new form and school of writing. Juan Carlos Onetti's A Dream Come True depicts a sharp, coherent, literary voice, encomp A Dream Come True collects the complete stories of Juan Carlos Onetti, presenting his existentialist, complex, and ironic style over the course of his writing career. Onetti was praised by Latin America's greatest authors, and regarded as an inventor of a new form and school of writing. Juan Carlos Onetti's A Dream Come True depicts a sharp, coherent, literary voice, encompassing Onetti's early stages of writing and his later texts. They span from a few pages in "Avenida de Mayo - Diagonal - Avenida de Mayo" to short novellas, like the celebrated detective story "The Face of Disgrace" and "Death and the Girl," an existential masterpiece that explores the complexity of violence and murder in the mythical town of Santa María. His stories create a world of writing which is both universal and highly local, mediating between philosophical characters and the quotidian melodrama of Uruguayan villages.

47 review for A Dream Come True: The Collected Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits A Dream Come True is the title of a single, hauntingly memorable story within this lengthy collection, as well as being the title for this English language collection itself. The book spans an amazing seven decades of Juan Carlos Onetti's short stories and includes fifty of his works ranging from half-page flash fictions to short novellas. Many are set within a single imagined town of Santa Maria so we get to revisit characters in different s See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits A Dream Come True is the title of a single, hauntingly memorable story within this lengthy collection, as well as being the title for this English language collection itself. The book spans an amazing seven decades of Juan Carlos Onetti's short stories and includes fifty of his works ranging from half-page flash fictions to short novellas. Many are set within a single imagined town of Santa Maria so we get to revisit characters in different situations which I found particularly interesting. Santa Maria has a high proportion of Swiss, German and Italian immigrants so I could recognise the European roots of their communities at the same time as witnessing the shifting space maintained between them and the indigenous people. I loved Onetti's writing style, here expertly translated by Katherine Silver. He had an intuitive understanding of human needs and interactions which I feel gives a deeper meaning to the stories. Everyday notions such as enjoying a sip of mate or lighting a cigarette are loaded with a sense of significance beyond their normalcy, although sometimes this seemed carried to such a point that I lost track of the story itself! For me, Onetti's most powerful work was from the earlier decades and I especially liked the unreal vibes of stories such as A Dream Come True where an unknown woman convinces a theatre director to create a scene of her own devising. Other favourites include Esbjerg By The Sea where Kirsten's husband tries to put together enough money for his homesick wife to visit her native Denmark, and On The Thirty-First which is a wonderfully unusual New Year's Eve tale. I probably should have treated A Dream Come True as a bedside tome to dip into rather than working my way through all the stories without any other reading distractions. This method did mean I was able to appreciate the two treatments of the same story, originally published some twenty years apart, but I also found the collection hard going at times. None of Onetti's stories are easy reads - even the shortest have a thoughtful quality to them and a complexity which I found often left me questioning if things I had taken at face value were actually what Onetti had meant! These stories are beautifully layered and detailed, benefiting from pondering as well as simple reading. My thanks to Archipelago Press for this Onetti retrospective.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bert Hirsch

    This was a library copy that I needed to return before I was able to do a complete reading. Juan Carlos Onetti is considered a seminal writer of the South American 20 century, emulated by Cortazar, a contemporary of Borges, and in this edition endorsed with comments by Anonio Munoz Molina (whose Sepharad is a favorite of mine), Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes. This collection spans his career from 1933 to 1987. The Possible Baldi is about a hustler who manipulates a streetwalker as she stro This was a library copy that I needed to return before I was able to do a complete reading. Juan Carlos Onetti is considered a seminal writer of the South American 20 century, emulated by Cortazar, a contemporary of Borges, and in this edition endorsed with comments by Anonio Munoz Molina (whose Sepharad is a favorite of mine), Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes. This collection spans his career from 1933 to 1987. The Possible Baldi is about a hustler who manipulates a streetwalker as she strolls the streets of Montevideo looking for her next mark. In The Perfect Crime a man kills his cousin whom he owes money to, but his getting away with it becomes a total mess. In A Dream Come True , a mysterious woman hires a down and out theater director to stage a scene from an eerie dream she had. In Back To The South, a nephew relates his uncle's last year. Heartbroken when his younger girlfriend leaves him, the lonely Uncle deteriorates, all the while hoping and imagining he will be reunited. In Jacob And The Other, an untrustworthy promotor, puts on a wrestling match in which he hopes to make a quick hit and then high tail it out of town; the best laid plans of mice and men. These are all entertaining tales, rich with characters who are street wise, looking for their best shot, often to be unfulfilled and disappointed. Onetti, spent most of his life in Montevideo, Buenos Aires and after the military juntas as an émigré in Spain. He captures his place and time, I often recalled the streets of Buenos Aires, its café life, style and mystique. In this context I was often reminded of Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi by H. Bustos Domecq ( a pseudonym for the collaborative writers Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares). Juan Carlos Onetti a South American maestro, this collection is a great reflection of his career and influence.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Engle

    Disjointed and difficult to follow in the early stories ( this book is arranged chronologically) ... but, with “Welcome, Bob” of 1944, the author hits his stride, finds his voice, and tho’ still surrealist, plots his tales more clearly ... driven from his home in Montevideo by an oppressive regime, the author found a home in post-Franco Spain ... he died in Spain in 1994 ...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Mcilhenny

    Reading this collection was like nibbling on a rich chocolate cake for several months. It was challenging, it was rewarding. I watched Free Solo at one point while reading this and letssss just say it wasn't hard for me to empathize with Alex and his 3000-foot walls. What was particularly cool was that these stories spanned Onnetti's entire writing career, from the 30s to the 90s. This created an interesting meta-reading experience where we could see the major elements of life itself play out ove Reading this collection was like nibbling on a rich chocolate cake for several months. It was challenging, it was rewarding. I watched Free Solo at one point while reading this and letssss just say it wasn't hard for me to empathize with Alex and his 3000-foot walls. What was particularly cool was that these stories spanned Onnetti's entire writing career, from the 30s to the 90s. This created an interesting meta-reading experience where we could see the major elements of life itself play out over the course of his stories. Weird explorations of politics fade to weird explorations of sex fade to weird explorations of cohabitation (especially lack thereof) fade to weird explorations of death. Throughout it all is an ever-present machismo (and like, a -weird- fascination with fascism) (I mean there also are a lot of stories with queer themes and he's definitely critical of humanity's worst impulses, so it's complicated), so this book is not a blanket recommendation, but it's a fun one if you have lots of time and concentration to spare and are down to explore a misanthropic psyche.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    This was hard work, to say the least. As much as I dislike ditching compilations, for the permanent sense of 'there's something better just over this hill', this had just mountain after mountain. I was well over halfway, and I had seen a progression from the horridly obtuse openings to the more clear narratives, but I still had made positive notes about only two of the tales. Yup, two. This is a mammoth 'complete works', as well, which just goes to show. I might then have missed some classics in This was hard work, to say the least. As much as I dislike ditching compilations, for the permanent sense of 'there's something better just over this hill', this had just mountain after mountain. I was well over halfway, and I had seen a progression from the horridly obtuse openings to the more clear narratives, but I still had made positive notes about only two of the tales. Yup, two. This is a mammoth 'complete works', as well, which just goes to show. I might then have missed some classics in what remained, but the idea of a fourth evening ruined by this dross really did not appeal. Funny, that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Shulman

  8. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  9. 5 out of 5

    Síor

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donald

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Horner

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry

  13. 5 out of 5

    Addison Hart

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Munnis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heidi De Vries

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricio Padua

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna Auzāne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melon109

  24. 5 out of 5

    Basho

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

  27. 5 out of 5

    Agnese

  28. 4 out of 5

    RAT

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  30. 4 out of 5

    Felicia Edens

  31. 5 out of 5

    Shaunterria

  32. 4 out of 5

    Janna

  33. 4 out of 5

    Toni

  34. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Andrade Amaral

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lavanya

  36. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Fisher

  37. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  38. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  39. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jean

  40. 4 out of 5

    Eames

  41. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  42. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  43. 4 out of 5

    Shreya Vikram

  44. 5 out of 5

    John

  45. 5 out of 5

    Penny Wright

  46. 4 out of 5

    Trey

  47. 4 out of 5

    Trevor John

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