by Eduardo Sguiglia
Translated by Patricia J. Duncan

Argentina. 256 pages. 1997.

The enigmatic narrator of Argentine writer Sguiglia’s first novel, a bold combination of the historic and the imagined, leaves Buenos Aires to work for Henry Ford deep in the Amazon jungle. In need of rubber, the automotive mogul has acquired a vast amount of land, built a well-armed company town called Fordlandia, and embarked on a foolhardy plan to plant an enormous number of rubber trees. Sguiglia’s wary protagonist spars with everyone, including his Amazonian assistants, Eneas and Roque; Jack, a hard-drinking American; and Theo, a pushy German priest. Struggling to suppress his fears, he journeys into the wild to recruit more workers, gives in to violent impulses that both earn him respect and put his life at risk, and drives himself to the brink of madness. As sharp and slashing as a machete, Sguiglia’s seductively unnerving tale of imperialism, megalomania, and capitalist folly versus the great mystery of nature and the wisdom of indigenous cultures is Conradian in its perceptions, and, by implication, incisive in its indictment of the ravaged state of the Amazon. (Booklist)

About the Author:

Eduardo Sguiglia (Rosario, April 1952) is an Argentine writer and essayist.

He lived in exile in Mexico from 1976 to 1982. Since his return from exile, in the early eighties, Sguiglia lives in Buenos Aires. He holds a master in social sciences and the conduct of research and is a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He has published stories and three novels — Fordlandia (1997), No te fíes de mi, si el corazón te falla (1999) y Un puñado de gloria (2003) – which were translated into Portuguese, English, Italian and German and were finalists in the international Dublin Literary Award and Grinzane-Cavour. Fordlandia was selected one of the four best works of fiction for The Washington Post (2000). Sguiglia has also written articles and essays on the economy and society of Argentina, for which he was honored with two national awards (1993 Fundación Arcor, Fundación Roggio, 1998) and decorated for his professional work by the governments of Bolivia, Chile and Brazil. He has served as chairman of the regulator of airports, political secretary for Latin American and Argentine ambassador to Angola.