Three Musketeers Hardcover – Oct 2008
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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.)
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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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.