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Asleep In The Sun [Paperback]

Adolfo Casares

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Book Description

Dec 12 2012

Lucio, a normal man in a normal (nosy) city neighborhood with normal problems with his in-laws (ever-present) and job (he lost it) finds he has a new problem on his hands: his beloved wife, Diana. She’s been staying out till all hours of the night and grows more disagreeable by the day. Should Lucio have Diana committed to the Psychiatric Institute, as her friend the dog trainer suggests? Before Lucio can even make up his mind, Diana is carted away by the mysterious head of the institute. Never mind, Diana’s sister, who looks just like Diana—and yet is nothing like her—has moved in. And on the recommendation of the dog trainer, Lucio acquires an adoring German shepherd, also named Diana. Then one glorious day, Diana returns, affectionate and pleasant. She’s been cured!—but have the doctors at the institute gone too far?

Asleep in the Sun is the great work of the Argentine master Adolfo Bioy Casares's later years. Like his legendary Invention of Morel, it is an intoxicating mixture of fantasy, sly humor, and menace. Whether read as a fable of modern politics, a meditation on the elusive parameters of the self, or a most unusual love story, Bioy's book is an almost scarily perfect comic turn, as well as a pure delight.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; Reprint edition (Dec 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525485376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525485377
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.5 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In a seriocomic saga of a man imprisoned by himself and the machinations of the world, a Buenos Aires watchmaker is talked into institutionalizing his wife because she can't decide what sort of dog she wants. "Casares's black comedy is a witty and ironic comment on our desires and the social structures we have created," determined PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“A sweet, increasingly surreal fable….The fantastic events seem less momentous than the almost saintly likeableness of Lucio, one of those people whom things happen to with a cockeyed vengeance. Levine’s slangy, salt-of-the-earth translation helps to make this shapely and appealing."
Kirkus Reviews

"Its broader themes of compatibility and well-being, and man’s attachment to place and routine, connect it with such older twentieth-century masterworks as Mann’s The Magic Mountain."

"A witty and ironic comment on our desires and the social structures we have created. This tale…weds laughter and terror in haunting fashion."
Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Opening and a Changed World April 3 2012
By The Ginger Man - Published on Amazon.com
Adolfo Bioy Casares recipe for magical realism could apply to the works of Kafka and Borges (Casares' friend and sometime collaborator ) as well as to his own: "For fantastic stories to be persuasive and convince the reader, they must be very realistic in the narration." In his introduction, James Sallis suggests that as people go about their lives, "fantastic events occur above their heads, in the next room, in the corners of bureau drawers." The intersection of the fantastic and the quotidian is not so much a shock as a leakage. "Always there is in Bioy's work," observes Sallis, "this sense of other worlds all about us, worlds that, to plunge into our own, require only a small opening, a sliphole."

In Asleep in the Sun, Lucio Bordenave experiences that leakage. His chronically unhappy wife, Diana, is further distressed when Lucio loses his job at the bank. Her mental health slips until she is anxious to enter a sanitarium which seems to combine elements of mental institution and pet hospital. Lucio desperately misses his choleric mate although his misery is challenged by the attentions first of his wife's lookalike sister and later by his neighbor's wife. When Diana finally returns, she is far more agreeable than previously. Lucio likes her better this way but is unsure if he loves her. As the sliphole into the fantastic leads in ever stranger directions, Lucio must decide if his dog, also named Diana, has become the true host of his wife's spirit. In trying to solve this problem, Lucio bravely enters the sanitarium and asks indelicate questions. It is at this point, the novel becomes ever more harrowing and the path back to "reality" more difficult to discern.

As with Kafka, Borges and Marquez, Bioy utilizes the fantastic to delineate the real. A Day in the Sun is a love story that explores the nature of connection and of identity. It also functions as political parable and cerebral adventure story.

Lucio's stolid nature, as well as his love for his wife, is his greatest asset as he enters this strange world lying so close to our own. Critic Thomas Beltzer says of Bioy's narrators: "The strangeness is not just in the observed but in the observer." Part of Bioy's art is to encourage the reader/observer to test the line between real and fantastic while experiencing the book. If the observer can accept and move through the small opening with the author, he will find Asleep in the Sun a rewarding fable.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars asleep April 11 2007
By Doc P - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really excellent - captures the Argentine personality. The book jacket blurb is misleading - this book is really about identity.

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