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I, the Supreme

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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  331 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Latin America has seen, time and again, the rise of dictators, Supreme Leaders possessed of the dream of absolute power, who sought to impose their mad visions of Perfect Order on their own peoples. Latin American writers, in turn, have responded with fictional portraits of such figures, and no novel of this genre is as universally esteemed as Augusto Roa Bastos's I the Su ...more
Paperback, 433 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1974)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,455)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Have you ever, browsing at a village bookshop, picked up a book and thumbing through it discover things like variations between single and double columns and footnotes and little chapter-ish headings like "(In the private notebook)" and "(On a loose sheaf)" and "(Perpetual circular)" and "(Compiler's note)" and but you can't remember quite if you've heard of the book before and if so on what list it had appeared but then you decide to not take it home only to learn shortly thereafter that you ha ...more
Elsie
Jun 17, 2007 Elsie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Someone recovering from book-noncommittalness, you, George Bush
How to get inside the mind of a dictator:

"Do you know what distinguishes daytime handwriting from nighttime? In a nocturnal hand there is obstinacy with indulgence. The proximity of sleep files the angles smooth. The spirals sprawl out more. The resistance from left to right, weaker. Delirium, intimate friend of the nocturnal hand. The curves sway less. The sperm of the ink dries more slowly. The movements are divergent. The strokes droop more. They tend to distend..."

"Those with prodigious memo
...more
Stephen
Jul 07, 2009 Stephen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: crazy people
I'm reading this Paraguayan historical novel a second time and enjoying (and understanding) it much more, though it's still incredibly dense and mind-boggling. Helen Lane, the translator, should have won some sort of award for faithfully capturing the spirit of the Perpetual Dictator's rambling, insulting, witty, and pretentious wordplay and neologisms.

Maritza Buendia
Nov 27, 2014 Maritza Buendia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me parece algo difícil resumir y hasta redactar una breve y coherente reseña de una obra tan compleja, quizá sea una tarea más apta para conocedores de la historia paraguaya. He aquí mi intento: Yo el Supremo, más que una novela es un compendio denso de compleja estructura lingüística que hace difícil entender el significado de la novela sin tener conocimiento de la historia de Paraguay. Sin embargo, es una experiencia muy gratificante para el lector que se ve expuesto a un personaje tan importa ...more
tiacosas
Oct 16, 2013 tiacosas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the "Dictator Novels" I've read, this is by far the best. The Supreme is such a complex character, and I guess you have to be really invested in latin-american history and political divisions to understand the depths of this book.

The Supreme never seems a caricature, or an evil blood thirsty maniac (two common character types for this genre); he comes off as a simplistic, nationalistic, and authoritarian ruler who is convinced he's the best option for his country - and, in contrast to
...more
Giovanna
Nov 03, 2008 Giovanna rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I'm paraguayan. I'm happy that someone from my country is at least slightly famous (we have pretty low standards). That been said, I hate this book. I don't know about the english version but in spanish it is without a doubt the most boring book I've ever had the misfortune of pickung up. And I tried to finish it several times but I couldn't get past the first chapter. I'm sorry Augusto.
Julio César
Es un clásico de la literatura latinoamericana. Lo sentí bastante atado a su época, con innovaciones literarias importantes como los múltiples tipos textuales, la inserción de cartas, panfletos, proclamas.
La historia del dictador Francia no me pareció tan loca, siendo de este continente, como le podría parecer a un europeo. Medio larga.
Joe
Jul 11, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
I, The Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos is a complex, technically accomplished, creative and stylistically unique book, a classic example of the dictator novel genre that explores the nature of authoritarianism and tyranny; the mindset and self-justifications of authoritarian leaders, the way they convince themselves that they are ultimately righteous and acting in the best interests of the people and the nation; the way dictatorial power inherently distorts the perspective of a leader by allowing ...more
Lucas Rentero
Jun 03, 2008 Lucas Rentero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En los mismos pagos de Zama pero unas décadas después.
Luis González
When I heard about this book I promised to read it. The comments I recieved were all along the lines of "the last strongman novel from a LatAm Boom author". Having read The President, The Death of Artemio Cruz, The Feast of the Goat among others, I expected a great book. However, I found that Roa Bastos took a little too much from Artemio Cruz for Rodríguez de Francia, with never-ending monologues that go nowhere for the first part of the novel. The second half is much more interesting, though; ...more
MajinFox
Mar 14, 2012 MajinFox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wstawione
OPINIA Z 25 KWIETNIA 2011

Zanim zacznę recenzować samą książkę, powinienem najpierw przedstawić moją ewolucję "miłości" do Paragwaju.

Wszystko zaczęło się w 1998 roku podczas Mistrzostw Świata w Piłce Nożnej we Francji. Były to moje pierwsze, które oglądałem z zacięciem w telewizji, a ponieważ z "natury" byłem bramkarzem, obserwowałem właśnie tych zawodników na boisku. I tak poznałem swojego guru na wiele lat - paragwajski bramkarz, José Luis Chilavert. I ci, którzy mnie znają, wiedzą, że muszę za
...more
Humberto
Jun 13, 2016 Humberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
denso... libro difícil... leánlo
Val
Dec 21, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-tour, world-tbc
The book is a first person account of dictator for life de Francia, the first in a long line of dictators in Paraguay. It shows his cynical manipulation of power and language, so questions the idea of dictatorial authority in general.
The dictator is self-justifying, a little paranoid and becomes increasingly deranged as the narrative progresses, but because it is mainly his telling of the story this is not obviously a polemic. The structure becomes more fragmentary and less rational as a mirror
...more
Anand
Oct 26, 2012 Anand rated it really liked it
A difficult but rich read. Roa Bastos' ambivalent assessment of El Supremo, and the multiple voice construct of a dictator nuances brilliantly. A dictator - spartan (unlike other South American dicators) - and with vision - but perhaps brutal in execution. Requires more than a read to truly understand the richly nuanced, and translated work
Leonard Pierce
Dec 16, 2007 Leonard Pierce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A stunning piece of Latin American postmodernism, the kaleidoscopic story of Paraguay's first unquestioned dictator.
Jayden gonzalez
Jul 22, 2014 Jayden gonzalez rated it it was amazing
el supremo ftw
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Augusto Roa Bastos was a noted Paraguayan novelist and short story writer, and one of the most important Latin American writers of the 20th century. As a teenager he fought in the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, and he later worked as a journalist, screenwriter and professor. He is best known for his complex novel Yo el Supremo (I, the Supreme) and for his reception of the Premio Miguel de ...more
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“It is not by believing but by doubting that one can attain to the truth, which is ever changing form and condition.” 17 likes
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