Steimberg, Alicia

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STEIMBERG, ALICIA (1933– ), Argentinean author. Born in Buenos Aires, Steimberg was trained as an English teacher and translator. Her works earned her some of the most prestigious awards in Argentinean letters, including the Premio Planeta in 1992.

Steimberg's first novel, Músicos y relojeros (1971), is a somewhat autobiographical narrative of Jewish life in Buenos Aires as seen through the eyes of the young narrator growing up in a family of immigrants. It has been translated into English as Musicians and Watchmakers (1998). The author's characteristic use of humor is evident in the novel and remains a constant in most of her subsequent works. To a certain extent her next novel, Su espíritu inocente (1981), continues where the first left off. Again the narrator is a young girl struggling to find her own identity and come to terms with the difficulties of being Jewish in a mostly Catholic country.

Her other novels also use humor to examine Argentinean social reality. This is the case of La loca 101 (1973), a rather chaotic tale that casts a critical eye on social mores and politics, and El árbol del placer (1986), a satirical portrayal of the world of psychoanalysis that is so prevalent in Buenos Aires. Her erotic novel Amatista (1989) was a finalist for the celebrated La Sonrisa Vertical literary prize. In Cuando digo Magdalena (1992), Steimberg returned, at least in part, to a more specifically Jewish context. This novel was also translated into English as Call Me Magdalena (1992). Finally, the novel La selva (2000) narrates the story of an older Jewish woman who unexpectedly falls in love with a man while on vacation in Brazil. Simultaneously, it tells the story of her struggle with a drug-addicted son. Steimberg is also the author of the short-story collections Como todas las mañanas (1983) and Vidas y vueltas (1999). Steimberg earned a well-deserved reputation as one of Argentina's best contemporary writers.

[Darrell B. Lockhart (2nd ed.)]