El sueño de los héroes / The Dream of Heroes
Novel , 1954
At the end of carnival 1927, Emilio Gauna had an experience that he knew was the culmination of his life. The problem is that Gauna can only dimly remember what happened: he was out on the town with his raucous, reckless friends when a masked woman appeared. Several hours later, gasping and horrified, Gauna awoke at the edge of a lake. Three years later, he tries to solve the mystery the only way he knows: by re-creating the same situation and reliving it –despite the warnings of his secret protector, the Sorcerer.
In The Dreams of Heroes, Adolfo Bioy Casares assembles magicians, prophetic and brave women, shamefully self-conscious men and Buenos Aires under the rubric of a sinister and mocking fate, and thrusts them forward into the dizzying realm of memory, doom and cyclical time. Written in 1954 and never before published in America, The Dream of Heroes stands as a predecessor of and model for a whole school of European and American novels that followed but never quite matched it.
"... a poignant moral allegory about a sensitive boy doomed by machismo. Bioy Casares combines social and magical realism with an involuted structure that readers of Borges or of Garcia Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude will recognize." " Here, fate is character and culture; the novel successfully satirizes the dream of heroes as it wonderfully evokes the Buenos Aires of the 1920's." Kirkus Review
"In The Dream of Heroes, under the guise of an adventure-mystery novel - complete with Carnival, masked women, dark woods, inexplicable events and alcoholic stupors - Mr. Bioy Casares recounts a kind of metaphysical fairy tale in which the hero, caught between good and evil, enters upon a doomed search for self." Mary Morris, The New York Times