Novel: The Islands by Carlos Gamerro. Paperback The Islands was originally published in Spanish as Las Islas. This English. Links to reviews of and other information about The Islands by Carlos Gamerro. Spanish title: Las islas; Translated by Ian Barnett; With an Introduction by. Contributions by Carlos Gamerro. Carlos Gamerro Carlos Gamerro was born in Argentina. He has published the novels Las Islas (, The.

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The Islands

The Islands was originally published in Spanish as Las Islas. This English version is translated by Ian Barnett.

You might be thinking that this sounds completely brilliant—a kind of surreal, Borgesian thriller; or you might be thinking that it sounds completely unreadable—a slippery, unrealistic plot in lzs nothing will stay still long enough for you to grasp what on earth is going on.

It is testament to the precision of the translator Ian Barnett, who worked in collaboration with the author Carlos Gamerro, that the English-language version is as inventive, dexterous and shocking as the Spanish original published over twelve years ago.

The Islands by Carlos Gamerro

The war, the political dictatorship, the freezing, miserable months in trenches on the islands, the self-serving, brutal commanders, the guilt, the horror, the czrlos, the final loss—all these skulk silently in the background. The islands are the quiet, beating twin hearts of the novel, exposed when Felipe eventually confronts his wartime experiences in the penultimate chapter, which is a beautiful piece of dramatic writing that is honest, terrifying and deeply moving.


But this chapter comes after a good five hundred pages of prose that twists and turns with pyrotechnic wit, and creates a complex vision of a Buenos Aires in which reality melts, disintegrates and reforms before our eyes.

Virtual realities, it seems, are more comforting than actual reality.

If the Falklands conflict is the heart of this novel, it is through a distorted and kaleidoscopic viewing glass that we read and understand it. Mirrors, spiders webs, chaos, hierarchy, pyramids, order, disintegration, control and inversion are all images and concepts that are repeated over and over again, forming a labyrinth of illusion and deception.

The Islands is shot through with a similar spectacular verve and manic surrealism; however, this novel is also a victim of its own inventiveness.

Carlos Gamerro | the Buenos Aires Review | Digital & Bilingual

Long and verbose—over five hundred pages, even after one hundred pages were cut from the original— The Islands sometimes buckles under its own weight of ideas and originality. Genre-bending it may be, but it is also trying rather hard to be too many different things—hundreds of different stories and styles crammed into one—and often demands a lot of the reader without giving much back.


Despite this uneven ground, The Islands is an electrifying novel that plunges us islad a densely mirrored narrative so ingenious and layered it is hard gameerro summarize. Its satirical, labyrinthine prose may be its obvious selling point, but it law the shattering and painful descriptions of war, post-traumatic stress disorder, memory and redemption that lift The Islands from madcap writing experiment to dramatic literary victory.

Available in paperback with French flaps. Readers in the US can buy it via Amazon.

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