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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Spring 2019

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    9780394535357 9781984898142 Electronic book text, EPUB
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    Distributor: Random House, Inc. Availability: On Sale Date: Feb 26, 2019 Carton Quantity: 24 $23.95 CAD
    $17.95 USD
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I the Supreme
By (author): Augusto Roa Bastos
9780525564690 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Hispanic & Latino Feb 26, 2019
$23.95 CAD
Active 6.09 x 9.18 x 0.93 in 448 pages Vintage
A towering achievement from a foundational author of modern Latin American literature: through the historical figure of Paraguay’s nineteenth-century “Supreme Dictator for Life,” José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, I the Supreme brilliantly explores the relationships between language, politics, oppression, and freedom.

I the Supreme imagines a dialogue between the nineteenth-century Paraguan dictator known as Dr. Francia and his secretary, Policarpo Patiño. The opening pages present a sign that they had found nailed to the wall of a cathedral, purportedly written by Dr. Francia himself and ordering the execution of all of his servants upon his death. This sign is revealed to be a forgery, which takes the leader and his secretary into a larger discussion about the nature of truth and the fallibility of the written word. Their conversation broadens into an epic journey of the mind, stretching across the colonial history of their nation, filled with surrealist imagery and labyrithian turns. In a metafictional twist, the novel itself is revealed to be the work of a mysterious compiler, who interjects from time to time and calls attention to the fragile nature of the texts he is collecting (with some lines noted as unfinished, blotted out, or obscured). Darkly comic and deeply moving, I the Supreme is a profound, unflinching meditation on power and its abuseand on the role of language in making and unmaking whole worlds.

Publication History: Knopf hardcover, 1986; Vintage trade paperback, 1987; Dalkey trade paperback, 2000

PRAISE: An undisputed classic, I the Supreme has been called “brilliant” (Carlos Fuentes, The New York Times Book Review), “genius” (The Washington Post), “magnificent” (Commonweal), and “erudite” (The New Yorker).

TIMELY: At a time when authoritarianism and its threats are a constant topic in the news, I the Supreme gives us insight into the history of tyranny.

A CLASSIC COMES HOME: Originally published in hardcover at Knopf in 1986, reissued in paperback by Dalkey Archive in 2000 (their edition is now off the market), I the Supreme is making a welcome return to our group in Spring 2019.

ACADEMIC ADOPTION: I the Supreme has excellent potential for adoption into courses on Latin American history and literature.

AWARD-WINNING TRANSLATOR: The translator, Helen Lane, is a two-time recipient of the PEN Translation Prize. Her rendering of Octavio Paz’s Alternating Current won the National Book Award.

FOR FANS OF: Cortázar, García Márquez, Borges, Kafka, and Fuentes.

Born in 1917, AUGUSTO ROA BASTOS is widely considered to be one of Paraguay’s greatest novelists. Best known for his novels I the Supreme and Son of Man, he authored many works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Spain’s Cervantes Prize, Roa Bastos spent much of his life outside Paraguay, both as a foreign correspondent and in exile for his opposition to the ruling governments of his country. He died in 2005.

Author Hometown: Asunción, Paraguay

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“A richly textured, brilliant book…. One of the milestones of the Latin American novel.” -Carlos Fuentes, The New York Times Book Review

“Augusto Roa Bastos is himself a supreme find, maybe the most complex and brilliant Latin American novelist of all…. I the Supreme is a work of graceful, voluminous genius, an Everest of fiction.”—The Washington Post

“A text of a verbal density that recalls the later James Joyce, a web of intertextual reference never seen in modern Spanish outside of Borges, Roa Bastos’s novel has challenged and fascinated thousands of readers around the world.”—Los Angeles Times

“The most magnificent work, most magnificently translated, to come from Spanish into English in almost a quarter of a century.”—Commonweal

“These passages reverberate with a fierce surrealism…. A prodigious meditation not only on history and power, but also on the nature of language itself.” -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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