The Scent of Buenos Aires

Hebe Uhart

translated from the Spanish by Maureen Shaughnessy
Archipelago Books 2019
A book review by Danny Yee © 2020
Hebe Uhart's short stories are genuinely distinctive. While simple in structure, with a clear narrative perspective and setting, they are not plot driven and often lack any kind of climax, resolution or turning point, with endings that feel more like the completion of a portrait or sketch. They also describe events of ordinary, everyday life, in familiar and comfortable settings. The tension and engagement come from the exposition of character, often through first-person or limited third person narratives by people with unusual — sometimes abnormal — perspectives, not so much unreliable as subtly defective. There is a real precision in the rendering of language and thoughts, a sharp and careful attention to detail.

Uhart brings to this a gentle humour, matched with a sympathy that seems unbounded, able to encompass the misfit and misplaced and their foibles and failings.

January 2020

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%T The Scent of Buenos Aires
%A Uhart, Hebe
%M Spanish
%F Shaughnessy, Maureen
%I Archipelago Books
%D 2019
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781939810342
%P 477pp