Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fernandez - Argentine novel

The author of this novel is Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the same who wrote La segunda vida de las Flores.

This is the story of Fernandez, the journalist and his exposure to political and social issues of Argentina. One day, Fernandez in his middle age, is at the waiting room of a dentist in Palermo in Buenos Aires. There appears Lili, his ex-girl friend from the school days. The unexpected meeting of the two after thirty years sets off both of them on a memory trip going over what happened in their lives in this period. They recall their friends and acquaintances, adventures and misadventures as well as amores y desamores.

Fernandez became a journalist and got a rich experience of dealing with political leaders and social issues. He was lured by the governor of a Patagonian province to edit a local newspaper. The governor used the newspaper to manipulate news and opinion in the region. Fernandez was unable to take beyond a point and returned to Buenos Aires. After his return, Fernandez started working in a magazine. Here he got a different experience of political manipulation by the media. Delia, the owner of the magazine used and misused political leaders for her profit. She tried to make Fernando write her biography with falsified information. During this period, he went to Punta del Este, where the rich and famous Argentines do wheeling and dealing while partying and vacationing.

Lili had her own adventures of romance and marriage. She was married to a rich man but it did not work out. Both Fernandez and Lili, in their formative years were influenced by Marxism and other leftist ideologies, as was fashionable in those days. But they moved on.

Ideas of love and romance are reawakened in the hearts of Fernandez and Lili in this meeting after such a long time. She looks radiant and well operated …from top to bottom !! He looks like he carried the wounds of a hundred battles of life. But as typical PorteƱos, they analyse and reanalyse every word and every gesture of each other… and walk away from the Second Opportunity life presented to them.

Jorge Fernandez Diaz, who is also a journalist, has given a vivid account of what goes on behind the news coverage and commentaries. He has brought out the nexus between political leaders and journalists and how the two try to take advantage of each other using their political and journalistic power. Diaz takes the readers around the cafes and bars of the neighbourhood of Palermo, as he had done in his previous novel. The middle age crisis of Fernandez and Lili has been used by Diaz for psychoanalysis, which is a trade mark of the Argentine authors. Diaz has cleverly woven the political crisis of the country with the middle age crisis of the two individuals.

I agree with Diaz´s political comment that Argentines sought Truth in the eighties but Truth did not matter in the nineties ¨. Now Argentina seems to have entered a post-truth era….

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