Domínguez, Carlos María 1955-

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Domínguez, Carlos María 1955-

PERSONAL:

Born 1955, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Montevideo, Uruguay. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, journalist, and literary critic.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Bartolomé Hidalgo Prize for La mujer hablada; Juan Carlos Onetti Prize for Tres muescas en mi carabina; Premio de la Fundación Lolita Rubial (Uruguay) and Vienna's Jury of Young Readers Prize (Austria), both for The House of Paper.

WRITINGS:

Pozo de Vargas, Emecé Editores (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1985.

Bicicletas negras (novel), Arca (Montevideo, Uruguay), 1990.

Construcción de la noche: La vida de Juan Carlos Onetti, Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1993.

Contando Historia, epilogue by Oscar Brando, Cal & Canto (Montevideo, Uruguay), 1995.

La mujer hablada: Historia de tres ciudades, Cal & Canto (Montevideo, Uruguay), 1995.

El bastardo: La vida de Roberto de las Carreras y su madre Clara, Cal & Canto (Montevideo, Uruguay), 1997.

(Editor) Darío Giró, Una joya por cada rata: Memorias de un asaltante de bancos, Cal & Canto (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2001.

Delitos de amores crueles: Las mujeres uruguayas frente a la justicia (1865-1911), Aguilar (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2001.

Tola Invernizzi: La rebelión de la ternura, Ediciones Trilce (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2001.

Escritos en el agua: Aventuras, personajes y misterios de Colonia y el Río de la Plata, Ediciones de la Banda Oriental (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2002.

Historias del polvo y el camino, Ediciones Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2002.

La casa de papel (novel), prologue by Carina Blixen, Ediciones de la Banda Oriental (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2002, translation by Nick Caistor published as The House of Paper, illustrated by Peter Sís, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.

Tres muescas en mi carabina, Alfaguara (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2003.

El norte profundo: Viaje por Tacuarembó, Artigas, Rivera y Cerro Largo, Banda Oriental (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2004.

Mares baldíos, Cal & Canto (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2005.

Las puertas de la tierra: La escena de acero de los puertos y los marinos uruguayos, Banda Oriental (Montevideo, Uruguay), 2007.

Domínguez's work has been translated into numerous languages.

SIDELIGHTS:

Carlos María Domínguez was born in 1955 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A writer, journalist, and literary critic, he moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1989. Over the course of his career, he has produced a number of volumes of both fiction and nonfiction, the former comprised of both novels and several volumes of short stories, and the latter of criticism and collections of his work as a journalist. Domínguez has won a number of awards for his writing, including the Bartolomé Hidalgo Prize for La mujer hablada: Historia de tres ciudades, the Juan Carlos Onetti Prize for Tres muescas en mi carabina, and the Premio de la Fundación Lolita Rubial and Vienna's Jury of Young Readers Prize for The House of Paper, the English translation of his novel, La casa de papel.

Domínguez is best known outside of his native South America for The House of Paper, thanks in part to the English translation by Nick Caistor. This slim novel is a book about books, addressing the difficulties of being a die-hard book collector in a humorous, entertaining manner, while also serving as an homage to writer Jorge Luis Borges. At the opening of the story, Bluma Lennon makes a purchase at a bookstore in London, England—a secondhand copy of a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson. Tragically, just as Bluma exits the shop, she steps out into the street and is killed by a passing motorist. The moral of this portion of the novel, from Domínguez's point of view, is that despite their seemingly innocuous nature, books, in reality, have the potential for bringing a person into the path of danger, and of actually altering someone's destiny. A book's harmless appearance is deceptive, because one never knows what might happen to him or her in the pursuit of a new book.

From this point on, Domínguez further illustrates his argument by sharing a number of additional stories with the reader in which the protagonist meets some degree of hardship due to his or her passion for books. One such example is the story of an older professor, who suffers a serious injury when five volumes of an encyclopedia set fall and land on his head. In another tale, academically minded book lovers are inspired by reading The Tiger of Malaysia, and as a result go to remote locations to teach literature, where they are, no doubt, in constant danger. Domínguez even shares the tale of a dog that suffers from a strong and eventually fatal bout of indigestion, having eaten a number of pages out of The Brothers Karamazov. The novel's stories are linked through the narrator, a colleague of Bluma's who ultimately takes over her job as a teacher. When he inadvertently receives a book that was sent to her—a copy of The Shadow-Line by Joseph Conrad—he sets out to track down the man who inscribed it to her, Carlos Brauer. The book continues in this vein, stringing together a series of literary jokes likely to entertain book aficionados of every sort, and referencing numerous authors and titles along the way. The narrator eventually locates Carlos's friend, Delgado, who reports that Carlos has become a mad hermit in possession of some twenty thousand books, with a habit of reading works of seventeenth-century authors by candlelight.

Domínguez's work has received critical praise from a broad range of reviewers. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews dubbed the story "a brisk, evocative mystery for book-lovers who may feel bound to read it twice." Alexander McCall Smith, a contributor to the New York Times Book Review, remarked that "the delight in The House of Paper is not so much in the story of the search but in the poetic style of its telling and in Domínguez's whimsical asides on reading and bibliophilia." Not all reviewers were as enthralled with the work, however. Mary Whipple, in a review for the Mostly Fiction Web site, commented that "erudite and clever, the novel exists on its own terms, rather than through any direct connection with the reader, and it sometimes feels ponderous."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of The House of Paper, p. 933.

New York Times Book Review, December 4, 2005, Alexander McCall Smith, "Eating Karamazov," review of The House of Paper.

Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2005, review of The House of Paper, p. 27.

School Library Journal, February 1, 2006, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The House of Paper, p. 157.

ONLINE

Bookshelves of Doom Blog,http://bookshelvesofdoom.blogs.com/ (April 5, 2006), review of The House of Paper.

British Broadcasting Corporation Web site,http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (October 27, 2005), review of The House of Paper.

Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (November 1, 2005), Luan Gaines, review of The House of Paper.

Fine Books & Collections,http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/ (August 13, 2008), review of The House of Paper.

Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (March 22, 2006), Mary Whipple, review of The House of Paper; (August 13, 2008), author profile.

PEN American Center Web site,http://www.pen.org/ (August 13, 2008), author profile.

Ready Steady Book,http://www.readysteadybook.com/ (June 7, 2006), Janelle Martin, review of The House of Paper.

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