Giardinelli, Mempo 1947-
GIARDINELLI, Mempo 1947-
PERSONAL: Born August 2, 1947, in Resistencia, Argentina. Education: Attended Universidad Nacionál del Nordeste, 1964–69. Politics: "Liberal-Pacifist." Religion: Agnostic. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, gardening.
ADDRESSES: Office—José María Paz 355, Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Reporter and editor for numerous magazines and newspapers in Argentina, 1969–76, Mexico, 1979–83, Argentina and throughout the Spanish-speaking world, 1983–. Puro Cuento (literary journal), founder and director, 1986; Universidad Iberoamericana, professor, 1977–84; visiting professor, Wellesley College, 1986, University of Louisville, 1988, 1989, University of Virginia, 1988, 1997, 2002, 2006, Gettysburg College, 1998, and Florida State University, 1999; Universidad Nacionál de La Plata, 1989–94; honorary professor at Universidad Nacionál del Nordeste, 1996–, and Universidad del Norte, Asunción, Paraguay, 1999. Fundación Mempo Giardinelli, founder and affiliate; Fundación Poder Ciudadano, board member; Comisión Provincial por la Memoria de la Prov. de Buenos Aires, member.
MEMBER: Sociedad de Escritores de la Argentina, Poder Ciudadano, Comision Provincial por la Memoria (de la Provincia de Buenos Ares), Union de Trabajadores de Prensa de Buenos Aires.
AWARDS, HONORS: Primera Generación de Becarios of the INBA, 1977; Mexican National Book Award, 1983, for Luna caliente; VIII Prémio Internacionál "Romulo Gallegos," 1993; Grandes Viajeros Award, 2000, for Final de novella en Patagonia.
Invasion (poetry), 1972.
La revolución en bicicleta (novel), Bruguera (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1980.
El cielo con las manos (novel), Ediciones del Norte (Hanover, NH), 1981.
Vidas ejemplares (short stories), Ediciones del Norte (Hanover, NH), 1982.
Por que prohibieron el circo? (novel; originally titled "Tono, tuerto rey de ciegos" in 1976), Editorial Oasis (Mexico City, Mexico), 1983.
Luna caliente (novel), Editorial Oasis (Mexico City, Mexico), 1983, translation published as Sultry Moon, Latin American Literary Review Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1998.
El genero negro (essays; title means "The Black Genre"), Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City, Mexico), 1984.
Que solos se quedan los muertos (novel), Editorial Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1985.
La entrevista (short stories), Ediciones Almarabu (Madrid, Spain), 1986.
Cuentos: Antologia personal (short stories), Puntosur (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1987.
Santo oficio de la memoria (novel), Seix Barral (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1991.
Carlito's Dancing Bar (short stories), Editorial Almagesto (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1993.
El castigo de dios (short stories), Tesis-Grupo Editorial Norma (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1993.
Imposible equilibrio (novel), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.
El pais de las maravillas (essays), Editorial Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1998.
(Compiler, with Graciela Gliemmo) La Venus de Paper: Antologia del cuento erótico argentino, Editorial Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1998.
El decimo infierno (novel), Editorial Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1999, translation by Andrea G. Labinger published as The Tenth Circle, Latin American Literary Review Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 2001.
Cuentos completos (short stories), Seix Barral (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1999.
Pertencia: Cuentos y relatos del nordeste argentino (short stories), Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2001.
Diatriba por la patria: apuntes sobre la disolución de la Argentina (nonfiction), Vergara (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.
Cuestiones interiores (novel), Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2003.
Visitas después de hora (novel), Ediciones B, 2003.
Writer and director of Argentine television program El pais de las maravillas, 1996–. Contributor of articles to many newspapers and magazines in Latin America and Europe.
The novel Luna caliente has been translated into more than twenty languages.
SIDELIGHTS: Considered a major voice in Latin American journalism and fiction, Mempo Giardinelli has published essays, articles, poems, short stories, and novels that have garnered prestigious awards and have been widely anthologized. His first novel, "Tono, tuerto rey di ciegos" was accepted by a publisher in 1976, but government censors prevented the book from appearing in Argentina. It was later published in Mexico as Por que prohibieron el circo?
To escape Argentina's right-wing military regime, Giardinelli left the country in 1976 and lived in exile in Mexico City until 1985. In Mexico he worked as a writer and editor for several publications and also began teaching communications at the Universidad Iberoamericana. During this period, he maintained a steady output of fiction in addition to his journalism.
Giardinelli's novels La revolución en bicicleta and El cielo con las manos, as well as a short-story collection Vidas ejemplares, were published in Mexico in the early 1980s. Admirers of his work pointed out that Giardinelli departed from the tradition of magical realism so prominent in Latin American fiction at the time and made famous in North America chiefly through Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Instead, as Robert A. Parsons noted in Hispania, Giardinelli's fiction is distinguished by its "unadorned, straightforward prose, mimetic description and dialogue, and rejection of baroque structures" as well as its "strikingly original similes and a conscious concern with problems of narrative perspective and technique." Giardinelli's novel Luna caliente won Mexico's National Book Award in 1983 and became a bestseller in Argentina the following year. The book was also praised when it appeared in translation in the United States in 1998—the first of Giardinelli's works to be translated into English. Charlotte Innes, in New Times, read the novel as an allegory of Argentina's "Dirty War" of 1976–83. In the book a young man returns from his studies in Paris to his native Resistencia. There he meets thirteen-year-old Araceli, the stunningly beautiful daughter of his father's friend. Obsessed by his lust for the girl, Ramiro rapes and almost murders her. But Araceli, who in Innes's view symbolizes the country of Argentina, becomes so corrupted by this violence that she seeks more. Innes found this development psychologically disturbing, but pointed out that "Giardinelli's point here is that corruption feeds on itself." The novel's violent themes, she wrote, suited the author's serious examination of such issues as complicity in brutalization, guilt, punishment, and the possibility of salvation. Likening Giardinelli's work to that of Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky, she praised Sultry Moon as both "an enthralling race through the darker regions of the human psyche" and as a thrilling story "so charged with sexual tension and the expectation of violence that once begun it's almost impossible to put down." Library Journal reviewer Janet Ingraham Dwyer called Sultry Moon "creepy" and "captivating," and Booklist contributor Brad Hooper characterized it as a "wonderfully compelling psychological tale" that stands as a "supreme example of the power of the form." Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes commented that "Giardinelli's work is as human and moving as it is important in these times of hatred and xenophobia."
In 1985, after democracy was restored in Argentina, Giardinelli returned to his native country. At some point he became fascinated by detective fiction—the "black genre," as it is called in Latin America. El genero negro is a study of North American mystery thrillers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He explained that the book pays homage to several writers, such as Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, William R. Burnett, Horace McCoy, and David Goodis, who are "mostly ignored" in the United States. Giardinelli also reads much current North American fiction and poetry, including works by Raymond Carver, John Irving, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski, Erskine Caldwell, and Truman Capote. He estimates that North American literature makes up almost twenty percent of his extensive private library.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 1998, Brad Hooper, review of Sultry Moon, p. 1091.
Hispania, December 1995, article by Robert A. Parsons, pp. 818-819.
Library Journal, March 15, 1998, Janet Ingraham Dwyer, review of Sultry Moon, p. 92.
World Literature Today, summer, 1983, p. 432; autumn, 1983, p. 616.
Fundación Mempo Giardinelli Web Site, http://www.fundamgiardinelli.org.ar (November 7, 2005).
Mempo Giardinelli Home Page, http://www.mempogiardinelli.com/ (February 7, 2006).
New Times Online, http://www.newtimesla.com/ (October 21, 1998), Charlotte Innes, review of Sultry Moon.
Weekly Readings of the Harbourfront Reading Series: Mempo Giardinelli, http://www.icomm.org/ (March 26, 1999).