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Tango for a Torturer [Paperback]

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Item description for Tango for a Torturer by Peter Bush Daniel Chavarra...

Aldo Bianchi, a former Argentine revolutionary now living in Italy, travels to Havana, where he meets the beautiful Bini, a sultry student with great charm and panache working the hotels. Bianchi soon discovers via his liaison with Bini that his nemesis, the Uruguayan military torturer Alberto Ros, is living under a false identity in Cuba. Putting his tropical holiday on hold, Bianchi goes on the hunt for his sadistic enemy.

Daniel Chavarra authentically portrays the sensuousness and skullduggery of contemporary Havana, a city that offers erotic thrills to pleasure-seeking tourists, even as it hides villains in its humid embrace. While Ros thrives on bribery and corruption, Bianchi is driven by a desire to see justice done. Tango for a Torturer is a sexy and political thriller chock-full of bawdy humor and chilling evocations of the evils wrought by Latin American military dictatorships.

Daniel Chavarra, a former Tupamaros who hijacked a plane to fly himself to Havana in 1969, is a Uruguayan writer with two passions: classical literature and prostitutes. For years he was a professor of Latin, Greek, and classical literature, devoting much of his time and energy to researching the origins and evolution of prostitution. He has won numerous literary awards around the world, including the 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award and the 2002 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His novels Adios Muchachos and The Eye of Cybele are also published by Akashic Books. He lives in Havana.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   390
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.27" Width: 5.28" Height: 1.18"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Akashic Books
ISBN  1933354194  
ISBN13  9781933354194  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Political
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Latin American
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Spanish
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
5Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
6Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Tango for a Torturer?

"Passive resignation disappeared when the military torturers got amnesty."  Jul 4, 2007
"Tango for a Torturer" begins in modern Cuba with a wealthy, middle-aged businessman, Aldo Bianchi. Originally from Argentina, he now lives in Rome. Both of his marriages to gorgeous Italian women have somehow advanced his fortune, and currently divorced once again, he's in Cuba to enjoy himself and visit friends. Almost immediately, Aldo meets Bini, a gorgeous, tough, and volatile young prostitute. He abandons his plans to meet his friends, spends all his time with Bini, and subsequently announces their upcoming marriage. His friends predict disaster and see the relationship as some sort of sexual fascination, a horrible mistake.

Aldo's relationship with Bini is central to this riveting roller-coaster ride of a book, a revenge tale in which Aldo Bianchi discovers that his arch-nemesis is now living in Cuba under the assumed name of Alberto Rios. Rios is enjoying every moment of his leisurely, affluent life. He lives on a luxury yacht, spends his mornings exercising, employs the services of local prostitutes, and is busy writing a book called "Fruitful Cruelty." As its title suggest, it's a book about cruelty--Rios's favourite subject.

Echoing with the horror of the Dirty War that occurred in Argentina during 1976-1983, "Tango for a Torturer" goes back and forth in time and untangles the thread that exists between Aldo and Alberto Rios. On the surface, these two men appear to share many characteristics. They are both approximately the same age, extremely intelligent, in great physical shape, fastidious, used to the finer things in life, and they both practice enormous self-discipline. Both men also have secrets in their pasts. In his teens, Rios was well into his sadistic practices, and by twenty-one, he joined the Uruguayan police. He's a natural when it comes to torture, and he excelled at the CIA-sponsored course in "Scientific Persuasion." His personal specialty is subversives and political prisoners, and his enthusiasm for his work stunned even Dan Mitrione, Rios's CIA trainer. And Dan Mitrione was a real person, by the way.

Uruguayan author Chavarria understands that as people are exposed to different situations and different stresses, additional characteristics emerge, and this is exactly what happens throughout the course of this dark, intriguing novel. Bini, for example, could so easily have been written as a stock character--the manipulative, opportunistic prostitute, but in Chavarria's skillful hands, as the plot unfolds, her complexity becomes evident. As for Rios, you'd be hard-pressed to find so cold, so cunning, so evil a character who discovers 'scientific' pleasure in creating suffering in others. A natural chameleon, Rios is basically anti-social, but he manages to mask his loathing of human contact with deliberate bonhomie. While he prefers his employees to "detest" and fear him, he respects Bini's lack of obsequiousness. It's easy to visualize every single character in these pages--Captain Bastidas--who decides that Rios might just be an "excellent actor," an array of colourful prisoners rotting away in a Cuban jail, and Aldo Bianchi--a haunted man who harbors deep, dark secrets.

Frankly, I can't praise "Tango for a Torturer" enough. It's a wonderfully well-constructed book, and an incredibly, engaging, intense read. There were a couple of points in the novel, I thought I'd discovered a hole in the plot, but I was wrong. Chavarria maps out every detail in the web of this complex thriller, and every single loose end is tied by the time the book concludes--displacedhuman
Persuasive Slice of Cuban Life  May 11, 2007
Is it the tropical climate? Is it the tradition of Latin American literature? I don't know. All I know about Cuba is derived from "I Love Lucy," so take that into account when I say that Daniel Chavarria's "Tango for a Torturer" comes across as an authentic slice of life in Cuba.

Alberto Rios, a military torturer living the retired good life in Cuba is spotted by Aldo Bianchi, one of his former victims, who plots to frame him for a man's death. Helping him is his mistress, Bini, who's incredibly hot but also emotionally unstable.

It's set in Cuba, but Castro makes as much an appearance as George Bush would in my life. He's background noise. Instead, we're given the native's tour, of people scraping by from day to day, working at their jobs, making a little money on the side, staying out of trouble and taking time to live the good life when they can afford it.

But there's some political moments. Rios (aka Triple O) is a psychotic who made torturing political prisoners his career. Reading that he perfected his craft at Devil's Horn, Fla., and Fort Paramount, Ga., raises the point that the uses of persuasion (as Rios would put it) wasn't institutionalized by Bush, no matter what Seymour Hersh says.

Chavarria loves to take little side trips with the story. There's Dr. Azua, the defense attorney, a Cuban combination of Perry Mason and Nero Wolfe, who infallibly determines the guilt or innocence of his clients by laying hands on them. Then there's the homicide detective, Captain Bastidas, called in to investigate the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in the rain. I can tell you much about his life, but he plays his role early on and doesn't show up again.

What would a New York editor make of this? Would she read the nine pages devoted to a surprise party for Aldo, or the 11 pages at the end describing another party, this time in prison, and suggest they'd be cut back? There's also plenty of backstory about Rios and his career as a torturer (or as he would tell himself, as an expert in the science of persuasion), about Bini's life, from a little girl to doing time in prison and her work as a mistress. Are all these details really necessary?

But I wouldn't cut a word. Maybe they do things different in another country. Perhaps it's the reader, trained to read books with tight plots, minimal digression, and endings that seem drawn more from genre fiction -- the biter biting, the worm turning, the fatal weakness lifting the lever of tragedy -- than from the concatenation of events. Whatever. Reading this takes you out of the country and into a very different but familiar world. It's a cool book.

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