Call Me Magdalena by Alicia Steimberg
(Latin American Women Writers)

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Synopsis

Erotic entanglements, startling revelations, a furtive intruder, even a possible murder? Not at all what the students of Mind Control class envisioned when they gathered on a ranch outside Buenos Aires for a relaxing weekend. But here nothing is quite what it seems, least of all Magdalena herself, who while recounting the weekend's events, changes her name as often as she changes her mind. Within the taut framework of a murder mystery, Alicia Steimberg weaves a tale far more concerned with who-is-it than with whodunit. In what is probably the celebrated author's most interesting and complex novel, Magdalena conducts us through her tortuous childhood as an Argentine Jew and through her doubts about morality and mortality, the existence of God, and the amorphous nature of identity. Animated by Steimberg's lively dialogue and wit, this eccentric tour of some of the more pressing questions about gender, identity, and existence itself is finally as intriguing and suspenseful as the mysteries large and small, otherworldly and mundane, that it invites us to contemplate.
 

About Alicia Steimberg

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\Alicia Steimberg was born in 1933 in Buenos Aires, the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Argentina. She received an advanced education and training in English and has worked for many years as a professional translator. Her own literature has a clear autobiographical component, and she has earned a reputation as one of Argentina’s best contemporary writers. In 1992 she was awarded the prestigious Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur for her novel Cuando digo Magdalena, since translated into English and available in the Bison Books edition, Call Me Magdalena.Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish and the director of the honors program at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Alicia Steimberg’s Call Me Magdalena and Carlos Cerda’s An Empty House, also available in a Bison Books edition.
 
Published September 1, 2001 by Bison Books. 137 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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its narrator-protagonist a feisty female counterpart of Melville’s Ishmael, whose fish-out-of-water status among the mind-controllers propels her into deliciously detailed memories of the battles between her Russian Jewish grandparents and Latin Catholic parents.

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Publishers Weekly

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The granddaughter of Russian Jews who emigrated to Argentina, and the daughter of parents indifferent to Judaism who embrace Argentine society, she is in a kind of cultural limbo, caught between one world she cannot forget and another she wants to embrace.

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