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Description - The Bride from Odessa by Edgardo Cozarinsky

Set in Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Vienna, Budapest and Odessa, both before and after the Second World War, Edgardo Cozarinsky's stories belong to the spirit of Borges and to a great Argentine cosmopolitan tradition: that of the uprooted exile, the plaything of History, who, set down in a strange but proud land, looks back nostalgically to the Europe of his ancestral memories. Cozarinsky's characters are writers, lovers, scholars, artists and dreamers. An ambitious young Jew, about to marry and embark for a new life in Argentina is accosted by an unknown woman who departs with him to Buenos Aires; a pianist in a Buenos Aires nightclub finds himself drawn back to Germany in 1937; an Argentine-American Jew travels to Lisbon to unravel the threads of his grandparents' wartime affair...They are all travellers of a kind, characters who inhabit a secret land, without frontiers.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781843430513
ISBN-10: 1843430517
Format: Paperback
(215mm x 136mm x 13mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 22-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Bride from Odessa by Edgardo Cozarinsky

UK Kirkus Review » Best known for his thoughtful, semi-documentary films, Cozarinsky here turns his hand to a collection of short stories. The result is every bit as captivating as his first such compilation, Urban Voodoo. Themes from his native Argentina run powerfully through the tales, although the settings also take in Lisbon, Vienna, Budapest and Odessa. The worlds he creates are turbulent and nostalgic, the settings both before and after the Second World War. Cozarinsky's characters are all travellers through troubled lives, looking outside themselves for something they can never quite capture. There is the pianist in a Buenos Aires nightclub who finds himself drawn to pre-war Germany, a Jew who travels to Lisbon to unravel the mystery of his grandparents' wartime affair, and the young man who meets a clinging woman on the eve of his wedding. The stories are thought-provoking and talk of a people whose South American homeland can never quite compensate for the European culture they have lost. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The legacy of world war and the experience of exile provide a rich texture of loss and longing in nine stories from a prominent Argentinean-born filmmaker and author. Cozarinsky's second collection (after Urban Voodoo, 1990) is bracketed by two masterpieces, beginning with the unusual title story, about a young Jew, in 1890, preparing to embark for Buenos Aires to await his reluctant bride-to-be's later arrival-only to be accompanied instead by the non-Jewish woman who impulsively begs to become his "wife." In the haunting final story, "Emigre Hotel," a Jewish protagonist travels from Argentina to Lisbon, obsessed by the story of his grandparents having fallen in love there in 1940-only to learn more than he wishes to know about his family's angry, tangled history. The plot similarity that links these two pieces comes as a dazzling, moving surprise as deracinated characters also figure in the poignant "Christmas '54," about a Viennese writer in South America who relieves his loneliness by hiring "aimless, hungry-looking young men" for sex; and also in the portrayal of a Berlin pianist who can't live either in his native or his adopted culture ("Days of 1937"); and in "Budapest," about an itinerant art forger whose memories of his mother's Romanian youth and adulthood dissuade him from fleecing an elderly "victim" of the Nazis' appropriation of Europe's artistic treasures. And yet even stronger is the masterly "Literature," whose narrator pays belated homage to the Russian emigre woman who'd introduced him to her country's great writers while grieving for her brother, perished at Dachau. This deceptively simple Chekhovian story resonates thunderously, most notably in one of contemporary fiction's indelibly memorable images: ". . . although there were no trees in the camp, the ground was strewn with yellow leaves." The "leaves" are, of course, the cloth stars worn by Jewish prisoners. A diminutive book that speaks volumes about "the ghostly existence of emigres," one that haunts the reader's imagination. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Edgardo Cozarinsky

Edgardo Cozarinsky was born in Buenos Aires in 1939 and has lived in Paris since 1974. Best known for his subtle, semi-documentary films, he has also written a previous collection of short stories, Urban Voodoo; a novella, The Moldavian Pimp; and prize-winning essays.