Sixty years in the making and the capstone of a monumental literary career, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: A Day in the Life is the final volume of the autobiographical trilogy from the author who is considered Borges' heir and the vanguard of the Post-Boom generation of Latin American literature. Emilio Renzi, Piglia's literary alter ego, navigates the tumultuous ups and downs of a post-Peronist Argentina filled with political unrest, economic instability, and a burgeoning literary scene ready to make its mark on the rest of the world.
How could we define a perfect day? Maybe it would be better to say: how could I narrate a perfect day?
Is that why I write a diary? To captureor rereadone of those days of unexpected happiness?
The final installment of Ricardo Piglia's lifelong compilation of journals completes the seemingly impossible project of documenting the entire life of a writer. A Day in the Life picks up the thread of Piglia's life in the 1980s until his death from ALS in 2017. Emilio Renzi, Piglia's literary alter ego, navigates the tumultuous ups and downs of a post-Peronist Argentina filled with political unrest, economic instability, and a burgeoning literary scene ready to make its mark on the rest of the world and escape the shadows of legendary authors Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Arlt.
Renzi's peripatetic, drinking, philandering ways don't abate as he grows older, and we're exposed to the intrinsic insecurities that continually plague him even as fate tips in his favor and he goes on to win international literary prizes and becomes professor emeritus of Princeton University. His literary success is marred only by the disappointments and tragedies of his personal life as he deals with the death of friends and family, failed relationships, and the constant pecuniary struggles of a writer trying to live solely on his ability to produce art. The final sections of this ambitious project intimately trace the deterioration of Piglia's body after his diagnosis: My right hand is heavy and uncooperative but I can still write. When I can no longer. The crowning achievement of a prolific, internationally acclaimed author, this third volume cements Ricardo Piglia's position as one of the most influential Latin American authors of the last century.
Praise for The Diaries of Emilio Renzi
"[A] posthumous autobiographical masterpiece. [P]rofoundly moving. A meditation on both the accumulation and ephemerality of time, Piglia's final work is a brilliant addition to world literature."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Filled with literary aperçus and fragments of history: an elegant, affecting close to a masterwork."
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"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. Amid meeting redheads at bars, he dissects styles and structures with a surgeon's precision, turning his gaze on a range of writers, from Plato to Dashiell Hammett, returning time and again to Pavese, Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Arlt and Borges. Chock-full of lists of books and films he consumed in those voracious early years of call girls, carbon paper, amphetamines and Heidegger, this is an embarrassment of riches by turns an inspiring master class in narrative analysis, an accounting of the pesos left in his pockets and a novel of Piglia's grandfather (named Emilio, natch) with his archive of World War I materials pilfered from Italian corpses. No previous familiarity with Piglia's work is needed to appreciate these bibliophilic diaries, adroitly