Skármeta, Antonio (1940–)

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Skármeta, Antonio (1940–)

Antonio Skármeta, the Chilean novelist and short story writer, was born November 7, 1940. An iconic literary figure for a generation of Chileans who lived under the military dictatorship of 1973–1990, Skármeta went into voluntary exile in 1975. He lived in Argentina and Germany and returned to Chile in 1989. Skármeta is the author of the short story collections El entusiasmo (1967), Desnudo en el tejado (1969), El ciclista del San Cristóbal (1973), Tiro libre (1973), Novios y solitarios (1975), and La composición (1998). His novel Soñé que la nieve ardía (1975; I Dreamt the Snow Was Burning, 1985) attests to the social and political aspirations and frustrations of the Salvador Allende years. No pasó nada (1980) is a short novel of the experience of exile; Insurrección (1982; The Insurrection, 1983) describes the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. Ardiente paciencia (1986; Burning Patience, 1987), a humorous novel portraying Pablo Neruda as matchmaker, was adapted as a drama, a video and a film, Il Postino (The Postman). (After the success of the film, the novel's title was changed to El cartero de Neruda in its editions published after 2000.) Match Ball (Love-Fifteen, 1989) is a satirical novel of the international world of professional tennis, whose title was also changed after 2003 to La velocidad del amor. A trilogy constituted by La boda del poeta (1999; The Poet's Wedding), La chica del trombón (2001; The Trombone Playgirl), and El baile de la victoria (2003; Victoria's Dance) is his most ambitious narrative work. Skármeta's narrative style mixes the nostalgia of a young generation's dream of social revolution with the experience of exile, parodying many literary genres from poetry to popular fiction to drama to journalism. Skármeta has also written a number of dramatic scripts in addition to Ardiente paciencia: La victoria (The Victory); Reina la tranquilidad en todo el país (The Entire Country Is in Peace); La insurrección (The Insurrection); Si viviéramos juntos (If We Lived Together), and Permiso de residencia (Residence Permit).

See alsoAllende Gossens, Salvador; Literature: Spanish America; Neruda, Pablo; Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto.


Lemaître, Monique J. Skármeta, una narrativa de la liberación. Santiago, Chile: Pehuén, 1991.

Lira, Constanza. Skármeta: La inteligencia de los sentidos. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Dante, 1985.

Rojo, Grinr. Crítica del exilio: Ensayos sobre literature latinoamericana actual. Santiago, Chile: Pehuén, 1989.

Rojo, Grinor. "Celebración de Antonio Skármeta." Anales de Literatura Chilena 3 (2002), 139-150.

Silva Cáceres, Raúl, ed. Del cuerpo a las palabras: La narrativa de Antonio Skármeta. Madrid: Literatura Americana Reunida, 1983.

                                             Cedomil Goic