Tierra de nadie

Tierra de nadie / No Man's Land

Novel , 1941

Punto de Lectura

In No Man’s Land, Juan Carlos Onetti dissects a restless, rootless generation of intellectuals, would-be artists and political activists in the city of Buenos Aires. Their parents came from Europe to find a land of plenty in Argentina and now they are caught in a void: neither Argentinian nor European. Theirs are spiked conversations in shadowy bars and brothels, ringing with disillusion. Political idealism has been shattered by the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact. Men and women find no solace in flesh or in feeling as they pursue ghosts form their amorous pasts. Abortion, suicide and failure weigh heavier than fantasies of tropical islands or the dream of a new world. The chaos of lives on the edge of the abyss is caught in a jagged, cinematic narrative, swiftly moving through sequences of abrupt scenes.

In Onetti's cycle of novels, No Man's Land is a key work, in which the focus shifts from the solitary protagonist of The Pit, to the first appearance of Onetti's greatest creations: Larsen the corpse-gathered and the vividly realized imaginary town of Santa Maria. If The Pit anticipated Sartre's existentialism, then No Man's Land is an early incursion into the fragmented space of an end-of-history post-modernism. 

"The Graham Green of Uruguay... foreshadowing the work of Beckett and Camus." Sunday Telegraph

"Onetti's voice and subject matter are his own... his work is always on a knife-edge... He is laconic, elegant, literary." London Review Books

"The Onetti experience is a curious one: readers end up feeling that they understand life better after a stay in this ghostly, tantalizing wold... The form is subtle and delicate, the message sordid an bleak, the flavour inimitable." The Guardian