I confess that I stumbled across this book randomly, and picked it up on a whim. I'm glad I did, as it's a window into a culture most definitely not my own and a time not my own. As the afterword states, this book is not "original" in the sense of its plot or themes, since "Don Segundo Sombra" falls into the tradition of "coming of age"/bildungsroman stories where the wise older mentor guides his young charge into the ways of the world. What makes this book worth reading is its portrait of the Argentine gaucho world, in vivid detail. The chapters are short and punchy, and the novel goes briskly as a whole.
It should be noted for those with PC-antennae that in this very macho world, men are men, and women don't serve much purpose except for the gratification of male urges or as dance partners to try to pick up. In addition, a few racial epithets do fly from a few of the characters, but it's endemic to the characters themselves.
The most important thing for potential buyers to note in this listing is that this version is the Signet translation by Harriet de Onís, with an afterword by her. This paperback is most definitely **not** the translation by Patricia Owen Steiner, with an introduction Gwen Kirkpatrick and multiple critical essays. The description on the website of this version needs to be corrected. Please be aware of the particular edition that is on offer here, namely the old Signet Classics edition.