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Three Musketeers [Hardcover]

Marcelo Birmajer , Sharon Wood

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Book Description

October 2008
Elias Traum, a former Argentinean currently residing in Israel, returns to Buenos Aires after twenty years of absence to mourn his two friends- two fellow Jews who together with him once comprised ""the three musketeers."" These young men signed their own death sentences when they joined the Montoneros, the left-wing Peronist guerrilla group, back in the bad days of the Dirty Wars in the 1970s and 80s.

Javier Mosan is an unmotivated Jewish journalist who writes for a popular daily newspaper in Argentina. His main hobbies are indulging in sexual fantasies and dodging writing assignments. When Mosan is sent to interview Traum, he believes it will be yet another routine job. Yet upon arriving at the airport Mosan is attacked, while Traum is kidnapped, mugged and then deposited on the side of the road like so much garbage. There is no doubt that the past has returned to take revenge.

But what past is it? The revolutionary or the romantic? And how is the Israeli Intelligence involved? The story takes us from the bars of Buenos Aires to the beaches of Mar Del Plata, through a forgotten childhood and an era of dictatorship, between memories and reality, until everything converges in an exciting, thrilling ending.

Translated from the Spanish by Sharon Wood."
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Pr (October 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592641938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592641932
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 16.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,731,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Argentine Birmajer presents a complicated tale of political intrigue revolving around Javier Mossen, a 32-year-old Jewish Argentine journalist obsessed with sex, the one who got away and looking out for number one. Mossen is reluctantly writing a Sunday feature on Elias Traum, a Jew and former Argentine revolutionary now residing in Israel and recently returned for a visit. When he goes to meet Traum at the airport, Mossen is assaulted and Traum kidnapped. Traum is later dumped naked but alive on the side of the road, and a terrified Mossen is so relieved his subject survived that he finds himself being drawn in by the activist's tales of political intrigue and heroism. When he realizes he's being followed, and his editor suddenly warns him away from Traum, Mossen becomes fearful, and then suspicious. Though the focus is political—so much so, readers may become confused—Argentine sexual attitudes also form an important thread, allowing Birmajer to indulge in some macho, misogynistic characterization and more than a little casual denigration of gays. Still, Birmajer skillfully explores the importance of Judaism in contemporary Argentina through an unlikely friendship and a crackerjack conspiracy plot. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Marcelo Birmajer is one of South America's most prominent young writers. He has written over 20 books, and screenplays for some of Argentinean cinema's most important films. His unique style, a combination of Latin machismo, self-irony and Jewish humor, has earned him the title "The Woody Allen of Pampas." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buenos Aires Blues Sept. 15 2008
By A. Ross - Published on
This slender novel is the first to appear in English from Argentine author/journalist/screenwriter Birmajer. Set in Buenos Aires, its topics are common to much of his work, especially Jewish life in Argentina, marriage/relationships, and the follies of youth. The narrator here is, Javier, a 40ish slacker journalist and nonpracticing Jew, working for a large daily newspaper. Javier's life motto is "don't rock the boat" -- as he aims to write only banal stories, entirely free and clear of any possibly controversy. His other life's work is to sexually fantasize about the women he encounters in the course of his daily life, while pining for his estranged girlfriend (who gave him the boot after he told her of an assignation he had with a 50-something "crone" who lived upstairs from them).

His latest assignment is to interview Elias Traum, who is flying in from Tel Aviv to say kaddish for his two friends of his who died more than twenty years ago. It seems that Elias and his two dead pals were known in some circles as the titular musketeers for their precocious energy, wit, and revolutionary zeal. Alas, in their zeal, the other two joined a left-wing guerrilla group known as the Montoneros, and were killed by government death squads while Elias emigrated to Israel.

When Javier goes the airport to meet Elias, he's attacks and Elias is kidnapped. The scared journalist eventually connects with Elias and bonds with the sympathetic figure. However, as he grows to like the man, his boss suddenly pulls him off the story and puts him on a mandatory vacation. Clearly, something strange is afoot -- but what that is remains rather elusive until the very end. Meanwhile, the story meanders its way around the city, as Javier tries to learn the truth about Elias and his friends, while also trying to get back into the good graces (and pants) of his ex-girlfriend.

While the book's probings into history, memory, and youth, are somewhat interesting, they are probably more so to readers versed in recent Argentine history -- especially the era of the Dirty War. And when the ultimate menace to Elias (and by extension Javier) is revealed, it fails to convince. It's also worth noting that some readers may be put off by rather coarse discussion and graphic treatment of sex in the book. On the while, probably worth dipping into for fans of South American fiction and Jewish Argentine history, but otherwise, not essential reading.

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