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The Revolutionaries Try Again

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Extravagant, absurd, and self-aware, The Revolutionaries Try Again plays out against the lost decade of Ecuador's austerity and the stymied idealism of three childhood friends—an expat, a bureaucrat, and a playwright—who are as sure about the evils of dictatorship as they are unsure of everything else, including each other.

Everyone thinks they're the chosen ones, Masha wro
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Coffee House Press
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Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Raucous despair. Frantic banter masking guilt; toughness masking endless pain.

just as it was pointless and childish for him to imagine the possibility of deforming American English as revenge for Americas deforming Latin America with their interventionist policies, and if he continued in this vein there would be nothing left, everything’s pointless, congratulations, Antonio, now what?

Nevertheless, Mauro Javier Cardenas has deformed American English in a stunning linguistic cartwheel that explor
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In The Revolutionaries Try Again, Mauro Javier Cardenas has taken the edifice of arch modernism and suffused it with tender details of a boyhood in Ecuador. The long, unraveling sentences reveal an extraordinarily musical ear. This is a debut that will last.
Joseph Schreiber
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was well into this novel before I realized that it was not a work in translation. I was excited that so much Spanish was left in place—and then it occurred to me that the blend was intentional. Even though I don't speak Spanish, I never felt at a loss, although two short chapters are entirely in Spanish. The duality enhances the duality of the migrant experience, although in this case the migrant has gone home, at least for a time.
The more I think about this book, and in the process of writing
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, diy-canon
Phenomenal. Experimental to the point of frustration, which speaks to how much I had to love it to fight my way through! I couldn't recap the plot, but the atmosphere was everything. The dialogue, the characters, the turns of phrase, it was just very emotional to read and I enjoy that so much. This book made me appreciate the CRAFT of it and that is one of the best things to feel as a writer reading. Augh. So, so, so good.
Matt Brown
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: about-literature
i probably just bought into the hype a little too much, but i'm pretty disappointed in this one. for all his references to bolaño, sebald, marías, et al. cardenas failed to remind me of any of them. there were moments early on that impressed me, but the characters and the reunited-high-school-buddies-giving-each-other-a-hard-time humor felt tiresome. it's a complex story and probably deserves much closer attention than i was willing to give it, but after a while it felt like a chore to trudge th ...more
Chad Felix
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Read by review at Music & Literature:
Mauro Garcia
En mi obstiancion de 'descubrir' a escritores ecuatorianos interesantes, por diversas referencias llego a mis manos esta novela, que poco a poco se fue conviertiendo en una gran decepcion, si bien a grandes rasgos habla sobre un grupo de chicos que quieren cambiar la historia de su pais, no tiene una historia central de la cual el lector se pueda agarrar y guiarse. A veces tenia la sensacion de estar leyendo a un mal imitador de Roberto Bolanos o incluso de Cortazar por la forma tan enrredada y ...more
Patrick Gamble
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Conflict on this one. I really admired Cardenas' mischievous exploration of the tenuous bonds of childhood friendship(s) and the fragility of youthful idealism when held up against the realities of adulthood. I also found it brimming with formal invention and loved the attempts to twist and manipulate the boundaries of the conventional novel, but towards the end the meandering sentences and fragmented dialogue felt like being dumped into the middle of a conversation at a party between a tight gr ...more
Ronnie Andrade
May 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
It’s hard to really make much of this novel. At one hand, you appreciate the stylistic attempts from the author, he is obviously paying homage to Bolanos, Cortazar. On the other end, for these stylistic attempts, the story is lost. Narratives are brought up, and never resolved. I found myself uninterested in all but a few characters. Where I feel the biggest disappointment is felt: The essence of the Ecuadorian city is completely missed by the author. It’s most frustrating as the beginning of th ...more
Zach Herman
I rarely challenge myself with "experimental" novels, but I'm glad I read this one. It's a electric work examining political and religious alienation among a group of now-adult friends who attended the same Catholic high school in Ecuador, a country struggling to lift up its people and shake free of its corrupt political class.

With no quotation marks, few paragraph breaks, and a discursive stream-of-consciousness style, this is not an easy read. Cardenas, in writing characters who often get los
Abhishek Kona
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book does not have a very clear plot or I failed to understand it. The English edition is bad and leaves a lot in Spanish verbs / phrases or has awkward translations.

Characters are introduced and forgotten whimsically, the madness did not make much sense to me.

My suggestion: skip this book
Terry Mitchell
Oct 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
While I do enjoy the conversational tone the narrative has and a few phrases from the story, I do not have the interest or patience to make it all the way through this book. I have too many other books I would like to read to waste my time waiting for it all to fall together.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book; very much a Latin American novel, but written (mostly) in English; for me, the Spanish and English parts flowed seamlessly together. It's a hint of the future language of North America.
Longhare Content
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
So good!
Jan 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Boring and incomprehensible. Life is too short for bad books.
Mar 08, 2017 added it
I read this book because a. I liked the typography on the cover b. it kept popping up on my online and irl radar and c. I have a foreigner's interest in Latin American literature.

It was a hard book to read. It breaks all the rules and the majority of the chapters are not only one continuous paragraph, but some are continuous 20-page paragraphs where forward slashes as the only punctuation.

Of course the confusion of tenses and narrators, of politics and memory, of things happening and minds unrol
Mar 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
RD Chiriboga Moncayo
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In only 269 pages Cardenas creates a novel that deals with the history of Ecuador (in the 80s and 90s), philosophy ("how are we to be humans in a world of destitution and justice"), immigration to the USA, memory, literature etc All of it in a non-linear narrative that jumps back and forth chronologically, told from different perspectives (narration shifts from first person to third to second, often in the same paragraph). Situations and characters are vivid, funny , absurd, cruel and h
1) amazing, tbh. its a real page-turner, not like a real page-turner for being an experimental novel, but as much a page-turner as any novel in a more standard/traditional prose style

2) i began Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed as i was finishing this book, and i feel like its first chapter works well in relation to/as a commentary on much of this novel

3) its refreshing to see a novel that takes the mundanities of upper/upper-middle class politically seriously. many political novels (espe
I am very, very easy to market to: just name-drop my favorite South American (not Bolaño). To wit, here's from the Millions' Great Second Half of 2016 Book Preview:

Cardenas’s first novel has the trappings of a ravishing debut: smart blurbs, a brilliant cover, a modernist narrative set amongst political turmoil in South America, and a flurry of pre-pub excitement on Twitter. Having garnered comparisons to works by Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortázar, The Revolutionaries Try Again has been called “f
Avra Fox
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Really this is a 3.75. The booked moved me deeply in numerous parts and frustrated me a few less times. I am not the key audience for this kind of novel, at first I was sure it was too self indulgent but as I read it more it won me over, and in the end moved me to tears.
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This tries really hard to be Bolaño. But it's not. Probably better in Spanish.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Jorge Muñoz
rated it liked it
May 05, 2018
rated it liked it
Nov 30, 2017
rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2017
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2017
Fredrick Toohey
rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2018
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Mauro Javier Cardenas grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and graduated with a degree in Economics from Stanford University. He's the author of The Revolutionaries Try Again (Coffee House Press, Sept 2016, Literatura Random House, 2018). His fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, The Antioch Review, Guernica, Witness, ZYZZYVA and BOMB. He's the recipient of the 2016 Joseph Henry Jackson Award.
More about Mauro Javier Cardenas

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