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Purgatory

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  45 reviews

Simón Cardoso had been dead for thirty years when Emilia Dupuy, his wife, found him at lunchtime in the dining room of Trudy Tuesday. So begins Purgatory, the final and perhaps most personal work of the great Latin American novelist Tomás Eloy Martínez. Emilia Dupuy's husband vanished in the 1970s, while the two were mapping an Argentine country road. All evidence seemed t

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Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Bloomsbury USA (first published November 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 595)
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Blair
Purgatory is the last novel of Argentinian author Tomás Eloy Martínez - published (in Spanish) two years before his death in 2010, and not translated into English until last November. In an extremely intriguing opening, we are introduced to sixty-year-old Emilia Dupuy, who encounters her husband Simón Cardoso in a restaurant one afternoon. This is notable not only because Simón has been missing, presumed dead, for thirty years, but also because he appears to be exactly as he was when he disappea...more
Tricia Kristufek
When I woke up, it occurred to me that the most unbearable loneliness is not being able to be alone.

Emilia has spent the last 30 years of her life looking for her husband, Simón, who had disappeared while on a trip to map obscure Argentinean country. When she finds him, he is exactly the same as the day he vanished, yet she is changed - older, more worn - and she questions if he would still love her, and if she's in her right mind.

Do not be fooled - this isn't your paranormal ghost story. The gh...more
Michelle Newby
By Tomas Eloy Martinez
Translation by Frank Wynne
Bloomsbury USA, 273 pgs
978-1-60819-711-8
Rating: 3

Everyone in this novel is loco, at least one taco short of a combo plate. Personally, I have a soft spot for Latino cultures, our neighbors to the south, and Mexico is breaking my heart. I would rather vacation in Peru than in Germany so please don't think I'm prejudiced. Still and all, everyone in this book is insane: the general, the doctor, the mapmaker, the mother, the wife and etc.

Emilia Dupuy's...more
Rebecca
Started well then hard to get through
Gerald
Purgatory is very rich in detail, description, character nuance and sufficient fantasy. And it's about love and loss, lost and found, and what was never there to begin with.

A beautiful read and thoroughly recommended, this was heading for a four star review (or maybe even five), but sadly about 80% of the way through it seems to lose impetus, peter along and then not end (it was the writer's last book, maybe that had something to do with it).
Jo
It's not the "ghost" story I thought it might be. Set in Argentina during the "dirty war" of the 70's I thought I might learn a lot about those times and I did but it was drier than reading a history textbook. I finished the book but I won't say it was enjoyable and in the end I'm not really sure who was real.
Darin
At times reminiscent of the great magical realist novels so endemic to South America, Tomas Eloy Martinez's last novel, Purgatory, transcends the style with brilliant technical flourishes, offering a metafiction on personal and national identity. When an Orwellian nightmare state is imposed upon a people, escape, both physical and psychological, becomes paramount. Such is the Argentina of the 1976-1982 military dictatorship, the period when approximately 30,000 "undesirables" simply disappeared....more
Tere
... lo fugitivo permanece y dura.
Danelle
Purgatory is set in Argentina during the Dirty War when thousands went missing and were described by the government as being "lost" or "disappeared." Emilia, a cartographer, has "lost" her husband Simón, also a cartographer, just days after they marry. She is devasted and searches for him. Though there are numerous accounts and witnesses that claim Simón was captured, tortured, and killed by the military, Emilia refuses to believe. She holds on to the hope that her husband is alive and that her...more
Michele
I won this book on GoodReads and was hoping for a good educational historical novel. The story is set in the "dirty war" in Argentina - the nearly 8 years of military rule by the Junta from 1976 to 1983. Those who opposed the regime were called subversives and the military systematically rounded them up and got rid of them in their "National Reorganization Process." The junta defended their actions as necessary to keep order and tried to call the war a civil war; the truth however was that this...more
Tami
Haven't received yet, just received notice I had won. 11/4/11
I recevied my copy 12/31/11 and hope to start soon. I have 7 plus my current read in front. 01/03/12
Just started today 01/21/12.
Finished last night. 01/27/12

Simon has been dead for 30 years when his wife Emilia sees him in a cafe. She has aged normally but he has remained the same. This is the start of a book that jumps back 30+ years ago and is set in present day. It is the story of Emilia and her life in Argentina and the adventures...more
Sandie
This was a book I won from the Goodreads giveaways. It was written by Tomas Eloy Martinez, and translated to English by Frank Wynne. Emilia is a cartographer (mapper) who falls in love with, and marries, Simon. They are very much in love but her father is the Argentinian regime's propagandist (basically he publishes a paper that only publishes stories which support the government, or tell their side of things) and he dislikes the husband because he is outspoken. Emilia and Simon are arrested whi...more
Kai
Purgatory is a story about life being put on hold. It's a story of not knowing if your love one is alive or dead. You can't move forward even though life has continued to move on. This is what happened to the character Emilia Dupuy. Her husband Simon Cardoso was last seen by her when both were arrested as subversives. She saw him going into a prison but never saw him comes out. All the paperwork indicated that Simon has been released but then again, paperwork could be forged.

She spent 30 years...more
Linda
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads - thank you to the publisher for sending the book to me. Wow, that was different. This isn't a book I would have normally picked up, had I not seen it on Goodreads. I read the book description and it sounded interesting; and entered the contest on First Reads. I'm glad that it caught my attention and glad that I was given a chance to read it.
The story kept going back and forth in time, and occasionally had me really confused because I...more
Liralen
I've read a handful of books that could be termed magical realism -- a lot of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, of course, and things like The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Magical realism by turns intrigues me and confuses me. It goes in places that realistic fiction simply can't, and, done right, doesn't give you a reason to question it.

This (although it took me approximately forever between receiving my copy and actually finishing the book) is done right, I think. It's a convolu...more
pa'tí m
Read for Modern Times Books, Spanish Book Group, San Francisco: June 2009.

A perspective about the psychological damage that resulted from the dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). This work shares the experience of those that were left behind, society's acceptance/denial of the situation, and the sickening manipulation techniques used by the military group to keep the nation numb with fear. Emilia's sense of reality and life is blurred after Simon is disappeared during a trip only a few days af...more
Emma Lawson
Reading this book is like being trapped inside someone else's brain, repeating and adding to memories, trying to make sense of events but continually finding that the true meaning eludes you. At first the narrative seems to be straightforward, and the narrator reliable. Then you find yourself moving between times, and realise you may know more than the story can tell you. As a reader, you seek a map (Emilia, the protagonist, is a cartographer), a route through the book, but you probably won't fi...more
Carol  MacInnis
I won this book from a contest of Goodreads on November 4/11 and recently received it. I would have liked to have given it 3 1/2 stars, but the program will only accept whole numbers.

Set in Argentina in the 1970's when the 'dirty war' was disposing of thousands of 'subversives' by arresting, torturing and executing them. Emilia and Simon, both Cartographers, are married and days later Simon disappears. Emilia is unable to accept the rumours that he has been killed and spends the next thirty year...more
Maria
En el invierno de 1976 Simón Cardoso es detenido por los militares que impusieron una dictadura sangrienta en Argentina, y nunca más aparece. Treinta años después, su mujer Emilia Dupuy, se paraliza al oír su voz en una fonda de suburbio en New Jersey. El mundo, que se había desmoronado con la tragedia, recobra su luz.

A partir de ese enigma, Purgatorio enlaza la ansiedad del amor perdido y recuperado con una reconstrucción magistral de la irrealidad siniestra creada por el régimen. Tomás Eloy Ma...more
Shauna
Purgatory is a novel that only partially takes place during the Argentinian “Dirty War”, yet is inescapably about it. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the military dictatorship in Argentina (with the secret, quiet approval of the US government) “disappeared” thousands of activists, students, journalists, etc. Protagonist Emilia Dupuy, the quiet, apolitical daughter of an elite advisor to the dictator, and the widow of one of the desaparecidos, is a cartographer. “I met her because I’m inte...more
Vennie
This is a love story and ghost story that spans 3 decades. I happened to win this book from GoodReads at a time when I, like Emilia Dupuy lost someone I dearly love and like Emilia I just want that person back. Well, unfortunately for me, "Purgatory" is simply a good story and I doubt I will ever find my sister sitting in a restaurant lounge as Emilia found her husband Simon in such a lounge. And so, the book begins, with the impossible. Although it doesn't offer any real tips on bringing the de...more
Rachael Kamm
I wasn't sure how I felt about this book while reading it, but I can't shake it and I think I liked it. It's one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. Heartbreaking but very compelling. I think it's worth a read. It can be pretty graphic though so be warned.
Lucy
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This is the second of Martinez's books that I've read, having previously read Santa Evita in Spanish. This one somehow felt strongly reminiscent of another book, though, and I'm not sure which one, maybe Bolano's Savage Detectives, as the author is a character in what is nonetheless fiction. I'm having a hard time writing this review because I think the book left me somewhat unsettled. It didn't provide any real answers about what h...more
Alexis Vélez
Esta novela me dejó un sinnúmero de sentimientos peleando por cuál será el que predomina. La historia del personaje principal es triste, una de tantas víctimas de uno de tantos régimenes dictatoriales que han ocurrido a lo largo de la historia de la humanidad. Pero claro, la verdadera historia de Argentina durante éste régimen dictatorial es lo que quiere mostrar Tomás Eloy Martínez (el cuál vivió en el exilio) en ésta historia disfrazada de historia de amor. Esta es la segunda novela que leo de...more
Ariadna73
This novel is the story of Emilia, who lost her husband Simon, shortly after the wedding. She was the daughter of an argentinean doctor (Dupuy) who disapproved of the marriage, and might have had something to do with the young man's disappearance. Tragicaly, Simon's body was never found and Emilia spent her life waiting for him and following one false clue after another until the end, which is the beginning of the novel, when she finds him in the most unusual place possible: a bar in the USA, mi...more
Editorial Alfaguara
En el invierno de 1976 Sim�n Cardoso es detenido por los militares y nunca m�s aparece. Treinta a�os m�s tarde, su mujer, Emilia Dupuy, se paraliza al reencontrarlo en New Jersey. El mundo, que se hab�a desmoronado con la tragedia, recobra su luz. Excepto por un detalle: para el ausente el tiempo no ha transcurrido. A partir de este enigma se enlaza la ansiedad del amor perdido y recuperado con una reconstrucci�n magistral de la irrealidad siniestra creada por el r�gimen. Tom�s Eloy Mart�nez viv...more
Gabriel Oak
Heartbreaking, beautiful novel about a woman searching for her husband for thirty years after he disappears during Argentina's "dirty war" of the 1970s. The narrative keeps you guessing about what is reality and what is Emilia's fantasy, in keeping with how the Argentine government determined what was and was not "real" during the war. Wonderful book.
Meg
This book was not at all what I expected and I actually spent the majority of it lost and disinterested. Portions of brilliance were buried in the midst of drudgery that I couldn't figure out. I can't tell if it's a cultural cue I was missing, or perhaps knowledge of the military dictatorships in Argentina it was assumed I had, but I struggled through most of the book. However, the last quarter of the book finally picked up, something clicked, and I almost couldn't put it down. I would like to g...more
Sheela Lal
weak love story. very interesting history
Carlitos Caprioli
New Jersey and Argentina - that right there makes it so that I must love it. It's heavy. Someone who has lost someone during the Dirty War, her dad involved with the military (and therefore with her loss); she has been hit so hard that she's trapped in time in her mind. It affects you, stays with you. Martinez is one of the best Argentine writers I've ever come across. This was his last book before passing, and it's worthy of carrying that title.
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Martínez obtained a degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Tucumán, and an MA at the University of Paris. From 1957 to 1961 he was a film critic in Buenos Aires for the La Nación newspaper, and he then was editor in chief (1962-69) of the magazine Primera Plana. From 1969 to 1970 he worked as a reporter in Paris. In 1969 Martínez interviewed former Argentine Preside...more
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