Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Purgatory” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  294 Ratings  ·  60 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

Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury USA (first published April 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Purgatory, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Purgatory

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Celeste Corrêa
"Purgatório "de Tomás Eloy Martínez
O sofrimento mais humilhante é sentir que já não se sofre - Proust ( pág. 111 )

Comprei este livro por cinco euros na última feira de livro organizada no Palácio de Cristal, Porto.
Não resisto a uma boa promoção, e, às vezes, já me têm saído duques.
Não foi este o caso , decididamente.
Purgatório é um livro muito interessante sobre a ditadura militar na Argentina entre 1976 e 1983, período em que as pessoas desapareciam sem deixar rasto e posteriormente eram dadas
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
Dec 16, 2015 Roberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A quei tempi le persone sparivano a migliaia, senza ragione apparente. Sparivano ambasciatori, amanti di capitani e ammiragli, proprietari di imprese che facevano gola ai generali. Sparivano operai all’uscita dalla fabbrica, contadini che lasciavano i trattori col motore acceso, morti che erano stati sepolti il giorno prima e le cui tombe venivano trovate vuote. Sparivano bambini dal ventre delle madri e sparivano madri dalla memoria dei figli. Alcuni ammalati che arrivavano in ospedale a mezza ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Mar 25, 2015 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sakura87
È ormai sessantenne, Emilia Dupuy, quando incontra il marito Simón in un ristorante. Scomparso da trent'anni dopo pochi, felici mesi di matrimonio, il tempo sembra non averlo scalfito. Per Emilia è un sogno che si realizza: da quando Simón è stato arrestato a Tucumán durante un rilievo cartografico che entrambi stavano conducendo, non ha mai smesso di cercarlo né di crederlo ancora vivo, nonostante i falsi avvistamenti e le false piste. A raccontare questa incredibile storia è un anonimo narrato ...more
Michelle Lancaster
By Tomas Eloy Martinez
Translation by Frank Wynne
Bloomsbury USA, 273 pgs
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
Tricia Kristufek
Nov 04, 2011 Tricia Kristufek rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
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
Simone Subliminalpop
Solitamente quando si tratta di mescolare storia nazionale e storie personali, realtà e finzione, gli scrittori sudamericani hanno una marcia in più. Non fa eccezione questo bel romanzo di Tomás Eloy Martínez: il regime militare e una scomparsa, la ricerca e il ritorno, le linee del tempo e dei ricordi che si sovrappongono tracciando la verità (una tra le tante).

"Una delle missioni del romanzo è raccontare quello che non esiste." - T.E.M.
Jan 17, 2012 Gerald rated it liked it
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).
Feb 16, 2012 Jo rated it did not like it
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.
Aug 07, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it
Started well then hard to get through
Mar 20, 2012 Tere rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
... lo fugitivo permanece y dura.
Aug 20, 2013 Ariadna73 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Nov 03, 2011 Linda rated it liked it
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
Mar 02, 2014 Darin rated it really liked it
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
pa'tí m
Jul 01, 2009 pa'tí m rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mtb-book-group
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
Nov 02, 2011 Michele rated it it was ok
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
Jan 03, 2012 Liralen rated it liked it
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 convolut
Dec 02, 2011 Sandie rated it liked it
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
Nov 04, 2011 Danelle rated it it was amazing
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
Nunzia Aprea
"Quello che non riesce a essere,
non sa mai che sarebbe potuto esistere. I romanzi si scrivono per questo: rimediare all' assenza perpetua di quello che non è mai esistito."
L' autore ha sottolineato più volte negli articoli e nelle interviste il suo essere, tracciando una linea netta di demarcazione tra il suo lavoro di giornalista e quello di scrittore.
Il linguaggio giornalistico comunica per contagio, un effetto di realtà, per il quale una delle missioni del romanzo è raccontare quello che n
Emma Lawson
May 28, 2013 Emma Lawson rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2011 Kai rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Nov 04, 2011 Tami rated it liked it
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
Carol  MacInnis
Nov 05, 2011 Carol MacInnis rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Apr 24, 2011 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2015 Francesca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Questo è uno di quegli incipit fulminanti, che ti travolgono, che ti afferrano per un braccio e ti inchiodano davanti alla storia. Io ho dovuto fermarmi un attimo e trarre un respiro.
La mia memoria è corsa subito a certi inizi schietti e senza preamboli, dal tono giornalistico che rifiuta di tergiversare tipici di
Feb 27, 2015 Nrlhakimin rated it it was amazing
Purgatory is a heartbreaking and sad story of a woman who is in denial of his husband's death 30 years ago. The story took place in Argentina during the Dirty War. Reading this book gave me new historical knowledge which I know not before.

I love how the writing style lured me to focus back and forth in different point of views to complete the puzzling questions: Where is Simon? What happened to him?

I think a lot about death and disappearance of loved ones while reading this book. Trapped in Ame
Dec 18, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: argentina
I have read other books by this author and, as we are revisiting Argentina, wanted to read this, his last book. It took me a while to relax and fall into the mood of this very non-linear book. There are several prominent themes including the Argentinian dictatorship, the disappeared (Emilia's husband, Simon, may or may not be among them), exile and immigration, cartography.....Part of the enjoyment of the book was finding much of it set - quite accurately - in Highland Pk, NJ where I lived for m ...more
Dec 07, 2013 Shauna rated it liked it
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
Feb 08, 2012 Vennie rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • El espíritu de mis padres sigue subiendo en la lluvia
  • Asleep in the Sun
  • The Planets
  • The Informers
  • The Sixty-Five Years of Washington
  • An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
  • The Islands
  • Open Door
  • The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra
  • Respiración artificial
  • King Stakh's Wild Hunt
  • Tyrant Memory
  • Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America
  • The Rabbit House
  • Destiny and Desire
  • We Love Glenda So Much and A Change of Light
  • How to Publish an eBook on a Budget - An Author's Guide
  • Quesadillas
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
More about Tomás Eloy Martínez...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »