Mike Puma's Reviews > Malvinas Requiem

Malvinas Requiem by Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill
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Sep 25, 12

bookshelves: argentine-author, 2012
Read from September 20 to 24, 2012

If I’m not mistaken, Rodolfo Fogwill’s name came to my attention while reading Vila-Matas’ Bartleby & Co. If V-M wasn’t thinking of this novella while including reference to the author, he should have been.

The story, briefly, is a fictional account of a group of Argentine military deserters—young men who said No—who went into hiding in a ‘warren’ which they carved out of a Malvinas island mountain, burrowing in like armadillos, or ‘dillos, ‘ as they called themselves. The dillos’ squalid existence in the warren is made more bearable by trading with both the British camp and the Argentine quartermaster.

Constantly threatened by the bitter cold and freezing to death, the dillos trudge by night over mountainous terrain to carry out their trading missions while dodging landmines, maintain a constant alert watch for British planes and harriers that might use them for target practice, and enforce their own forms self-governance and punishment while awaiting the anticipated end of the conflict. They even have a pet tapeworm. Really.

While not a political novel, it does portray the British military in a bad light (torture, forced buggery, murder, all the good stuff), and hints at the lack of competence of the Argentine military commanders, all without mention of Thatcher or Galtieri. Remember Raymond Briggs’ The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman? (Yes, THAT, Raymond Briggs, he of The Snowman fame.) This could be the novelization of that picture book.

3.5 stars, rounded up—for historical relevance and that damned tapeworm.

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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Wilson (new) - added it

Wilson Tomba Hey Mike, after you finish this one you might be interested in reading what one of Argentina most respected literary critics and intellectuals has to say about it; it's in Spanish and Google Translate garbles the text somewhat, but it's still readable I think.


message 2: by Wilson (new) - added it

Wilson Tomba Argentina's, darn it!


Mike Puma Thanks for the link, Wilson. I looked it over, and Google Translate does mangle it some. I'll read it after I finish the novel as it appears to have some spoilers.


message 4: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) or ‘dillos, ‘ as they called themselves. oh boy, did I ever read that wrong the first time!

You're so nice with your 'rounding up.' I'm more of a 'round down' gal myself.


Mike Puma Jenn(ifer) wrote: "or ‘dillos, ‘ as they called themselves. oh boy, did I ever read that wrong the first time!

You're so nice with your 'rounding up.' I'm more of a 'round down' gal myself."


Hmm? I wonder? Whatever could she mean?

I don't really like writing negative reviews, although they seem to be Liked more. I think I've only written two that could be called such, and one of those was more my reaction to it than claims about the book itself.

I'm reluctant to add the title of the book I expect to read next to my Currently Reading shelf, imagining the comments from the You-Know-Who-They-Ares (...Who-They-Arses?).






(David Markson's Going Down--see my dilemma?)


message 6: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Haha!

I don't like writing negative reviews either. I always feel like I should apologize to the author. (except to this chick cos she's just plain awful: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10...


Mike Puma I tend to read dead authors, so author reaction isn't a problem. That said, I almost never want to discourage a reader just because I didn't like something.


message 8: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith In all sincerity seldom do reviews inspire an almost ache to read the subject as soon as possible. This review was a success by that singular and skewed metric.


Mike Puma Thanks, JF, hope you like it. It is, under normal circumstances (I suppose) a very quick read.


message 10: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith I just bought such. It'll likely be here next week.


message 11: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Puma Good reading to you, sir.


message 12: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Jenn(ifer) wrote: "or ‘dillos, ‘ as they called themselves. oh boy, did I ever read that wrong the first time!."

I second that. But it made me laugh a lot, so good work!
Look at you reading all these cool books.


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