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Traveler of the Centuryby Andres Neuman
Synopses & Reviews
"The literature of the twenty-first century will belong to Neuman." —Roberto Bolaño
Searching for an inn, the enigmatic traveler Hans stops in a small city on the border between Saxony and Prussia. The next morning, Hans meets an old organ-grinder in the market square and immediately finds himself enmeshed in an intense debate on identity and what it is that defines us from which he cannot break free.
Indefinitely stuck in Wandernburg until his debate with the organ-grinder is concluded, he begins to meet the various characters who populate the town, including a young freethinker named Sophie. Though she is engaged to be married, Sophie and Hans begin a relationship that defies contemporary mores about female sexuality and what can and cannot be said about it.
Traveler of the Century is a deeply intellectual novel, chock-full of discussions about philosophy, history, literature, love, and translation. It is a book that looks to the past in order to have us reconsider the conflicts of our present. The winner of Spains prestigious Alfaguara Prize and the National Critics Prize, Traveler of the Century marks the English-language debut of Andrés Neuman, a writer described by Roberto Bolaño as being touched by grace.
“A deeply erudite but wickedly entertaining novel, with passion as well as reason in the mix, this tour de force from the Argentinian-born prodigy matches charming plot-twists with mind-stretching dialectic. In a captivating translation by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, it heralds the arrival in English of a first-class literary traveller.” The Independent
“There are moments here of exhilarating beauty [in Traveler of the Century]...Andrés Neuman writes about history and literature and the relation between them with an intelligence that his American contemporaries cannot match. His first book in English must not be his last.” The New Republic
“An exceptional, fun, mature novel from a writer wise beyond his years.” The Guardian
“Traveler of the Century takes on big ideas, and does so with an acuity that raises it to the level of great literature.” Boston Globe
“Neuman was singled out for praise by Roberto Bolaño and its easy to see why: like that late author, Neuman combines love and intrigue with serious intellectual engagement. A novel of ideas somewhere between Kafka's The Castle and Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, Neuman's English-language debut is a rich deconstruction of the competing currents of history, less a postmodernist pastiche than proof that modernism is still alive in the Spanish-speaking world.” Publishers Weekly
“Imaginatively grafting twenty-first-century literary sensibilities onto solid nineteenth-century roots, Neuman's first novel to appear in English is a rare and delightful masterpiece: a touching love story with big things to say.” Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Andrés Neuman was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Spain. He has a degree in Spanish philology from the University of Granada. Neuman was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists and was elected to the Bogotá-39 list. Traveler of the Century was the winner of the Alfaguara Prize and the National Critics Prize, Spains two most prestigious literary awards.
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