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Quinteto de Buenos Aires Jan 7, 2008
It is a brave attempt by recently deceased Spanish writer Vasquez Montalban to depict the post-dictatorship scene in Buenos Aires. The country was economically ruined, and despite cosmetic democracy, the hard liners still very much in charge. His detective Pepe Carvalho makes a circuitous attempt to make contact with a former revolutionary, now underground to persuade him to return to Spain, his adoptive country. Montalban description of Buenos Aires is almost cinematographic. He captures the flavor of Buenos Aires like no other non-Argentine writer could. The narrative is however rather repetitive and at times painfully slow, punctuated by moments of gruesome violence. Montalban, one of the late 20th century best mystery writers, could have done some serious editing on this particular work to improve readability. For those readers familiar with the Buenos Aires of the 80's, the book will no doubt bring back twinges of nostalgia.