"Cognizant of his impending death, Piglia, the Argentine titan of letters who died of A.L.S. in January, prepared his 327 notebooks for publication in a trilogy. Splendidly crafted and interspliced with essays and stories, this beguiling work is to a diary as Piglia is to 'Emilio Renzi': a lifelong alter ego, a highly self-conscious shadow volume that brings to bear all of Piglia's prowess as it illuminates his process of critical reading and the inevitable tensions between art and life."
The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
A giant of contemporary Latin American literature, Argentine novelist Ricardo Piglia's secret magnum opus was a compilation of 327 notebooks that he composed over nearly six decades, in which he imagined himself as his literary alter ego, Emilio Renzi. A world-weary detective, Renzi stars in many of his creator's works, much like Philip Roth's Nathan Zuckerman. But the Renzi of these diaries is something more complexa multilayered reconstruction of the self that is teased out over intricate, illuminating pages.
As Piglia/Renzi develops as a reader and writer, falls in love, and tussles with his tyrannical father, we get eye-opening perspectives on Latin America's tumultuous twentieth century. Obsessed with literary giantsfrom Borges and Cortázar (both of whom he knew), to Kafka and CamusThe Diaries comprise a celebration of reading as a vital, existential activity.
When Piglia learned he had a fatal illness in 2011, he raced to complete his mysterious masterwork as rumors about the book intensified among his many fans. First released in Spanish as a trilogy to tremendous applause, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi cements Piglia's place in the global canon.
Praise for The Diaries of Emilio Renzi
"[A] masterpiece. everything written by Ricardo Piglia, which we read as intellectual fabrications and narrated theories, was partially or entirely lived by Emilio Renzi. The visible, cerebral chronicles hid a secret history that was flesh and bones."
Jorge Carrión, The New York Times
"A valediction from the noted Argentine writer, known for bringing the conventions of hard-boiled U.S. crime drama into Latin American literature...Fans of Cortázar, Donoso, and Gabriel García Márquez will find these to be eminently worthy last words from Piglia."
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"When young Ricardo Piglia wrote the first pages of his diaries, which he would work on until the last years of his life, did he have any inkling that they would become a lesson in literary genius and the culmination of one of the greatest works of Argentine literature?"
Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream
"Ricardo Piglia, who passed away earlier this year at age seventy-five, is celebrated as one of the giants of Argentine literature, a rightful heir to legends like Borges, Cortázar, Juan Jose Saer, and Roberto Arlt. The Diaries of Emilio Renzi is his life's work...An American equivalent might be if Philip Roth now began publishing a massive, multi-volume autobiography in the guise of Nathan ZuckermanIt is truly a great work...This is a fantastic, very rewarding readit seems that Piglia has found a form that can admit everything he has to say about his life, and it is a true pleasure to take it in."
Scott Esposito, BOMB Magazine
"His death left us, his many Hispanic readers, feeling orphaned."
Valeria Luiselli, author of The Story of My Teeth
"Here through the Boom and Bolaño breech storms Ricardo Piglia, not just a great Latin American writer but a great writer of the American continent. Composed across his entire career, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi is Piglia's secret story of his shadow selfa book