The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years

The Diaries of Emilio Renzi - Formative Years, by Ricardo Piglia -  9781632061621.jpg
The Diaries of Emilio Renzi - Formative Years, by Ricardo Piglia -  9781632061621.jpg

The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years


By Ricardo Piglia

Introduction by Ilan Stavans

Translated from the Spanish by Robert Croll

The highly anticipated, autobiographical life’s work from the visionary Argentine novelist who brought Latin American letters out from Borges’s shadow and into the postmodern era bookended by Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace.

Book Details

Paperback • List Price: $21.99 • ISBN: 9781632061621 • Publication: 11/7/17 • 6” x 9” • 496 pages • Fiction—Autofiction / Latin American • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632061638

Pre-order from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndiebound

Pre-order from Restless
Pre-order from Restless

About the Books

The source of wide speculation since its conception, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi was begun some fifty years ago and completed in a frantic flurry as the Argentine author’s body shut down from Lou Gehrig's Disease. In Formative Years, the first installment of an ambitious trilogy compiled from 327 secret notebooks, Piglia chronicles in minute detail the intellectual and emotional life of Emilio Renzi, his fictional alter ego—a lá Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman—as he comes into his role as a reader and writer. Alongside his desires and anxieties, first loves and tussles with his tyrannical father, we get eye-opening perspectives on the crucial events in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century. Above all, The Diaries comprise a celebration of reading as a religious, existential activity, with incisive insights into the giants of twentieth-century world literature from Borges to Cortázar, Proust to Hemingway, Kafka to Camus.

A career-capping landmark a lá Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and a semi-autobiographical fiction in the tradition of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, Ricardo Piglia’s final testament is a comprehensive and a shining example of how one can transform their life with and into narrative. Long awaited by anyone who has read Piglia’s mind-bending novels and stories, and a necessary introduction for anyone who has not, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi presents English readers with an essential part of the global canon.



"Ricardo Piglia is an extremely important literary figure. He has inherited Borges' quizzical intelligence, enthusiasm for the tireless exploration of literature and attraction to hidden depths. Piglia's fictions trace inventive parabolas over the past nightmarish events of his country."    

The Independent


"Ricardo Piglia, the rebel classic."

—J.A. Masoliver Rodenas, La Vanguardia


"One of the sharpest minds on the latino-hispanic-american scene today."

El Cultural


"Ricardo Piglia may be the best Latin American writer to have appeared since the heyday of Gabriel García Márquez."

Kirkus Reviews


“One of the most important Latin American writers of the past fifty years.”

—Patricio Pron, Letras Libres


“His death left us, his many Hispanic readers, feeling orphaned.”

—Valeria Luiselli, Words Without Borders


“One of the leading exponents of the new epoch of Argentine narrative… Remembered by some of the most important cultural figures as a maestro and genius.”

—ABC España


“Considered a classic of contemporary Argentine literature.”

—BBC Mundo


“Obsessed with the mechanisms of the state to narrate and control, with the circulation of capital, with the detective story, Piglia’s work hybridized the grand Argentine narrative tradition and noir, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin. Imagination and nightmare. Secret and criticism.… As if he were still alive, we continue to wait for his books.”

The New York Times Español


"Both amazing and revelatory, Emilio Renzi is the best of Piglia."

—Iván Thays


"His most luminous and representative work. A real masterpiece. Piglia takes us to the true center where life and literature definitively meet."

—J. A. Masoliver Ródenas


"This incredible book occupies pride of place in my memoir bookshelf."

—Manuel Rodríguez Rivero


"Essential for regular readers of Piglia, necessary for anyone interested in recent Argentine literature."

—Nadal Suau, El Cultural


“A voice in contemporary Latin American literature not to be missed… Monumental.”

—Dolores Pruneda Paz, Télam


“The diaries are a legend among Latin American writers.… [Piglia is] one of the most important contemporary writers in Spanish.”

—Winston Manrique Sabogal, El País


About the Author

Ricardo Piglia (Buenos Aires, 1940–2017), professor emeritus of Princeton University, is unanimously considered a classic of contemporary Spanish-language literature. He published five novels, including Artificial Respiration, The Absent City, and Target in the Night, as well as collections of stories and criticism. Among the numerous prizes he received were the Premio de la Crítica, Premio Rómulo Gallegos, Premio Bartolomé March, Premio Casa de las Américas, Premio José Donoso, and Premio Formentor de las Letras.



About the Introducer

© Kevin Gutting

© Kevin Gutting

Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, and A Critic’s Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans’s work, translated into a dozen languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. He hosted the syndicated PBS television show Conversations with Ilan Stavans. He is a cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, and Oxford.

About the Translator

Robert Croll is a writer, translator, musician and artist originally from Asheville, North Carolina. His fascination with translation began during his undergraduate studies at Amherst College, where he began translating short stories, focusing particularly on the work of Julio Cortázar. He currently resides in Massachusetts.


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