This product was added to our catalog on Monday 25 September, 2017.
A story of politics, ballet, and a spectacular heist by a reluctant master thief and his eager young protégé.
With prisons overflowing in Chile, the president declares a general amnesty for all nonviolent criminals. Ángel Santiago, a youth determined to avenge abuse he received in jail, seeks out the notorious bank robber Nicolás Vergara Grey, whose front-page exploits won him a reputation he would rather leave behind. Their plan for an ambitious and daring robbery is complicated by the galvanizing presence of Victoria Ponce, a virtuosic dancer and high-school dropout whose father was a victim of the regime. Praised for his “ability to place a personal story in the context of a national upheaval and make it warm, funny and universal” (San Francisco Chronicle), Antonio Skármeta sets this exuberant love story against the backdrop of the new Chile, free from the Pinochet dictatorship but beholden to the perils of globalization. The Dancer and the Thief, which won Spain’s prestigious Planeta Prize, is a remarkable new novel from one of South America’s finest storytellers.
From Publishers Weekly
Skármeta (The Postman) conjures in his impressive sixth book a contemporary Santiago, Chile, where the memory of Pinochet's reign and the disappearing of citizens still looms. Presidential amnesty has granted freedom to some nonviolent criminals, releasing 20-year-old Ángel Santiago, a passionate young man imprisoned for impulsively stealing a wealthy rancher's horse, and 60-year-old Nico Vergara Grey, a gentleman-thief who has repented his life of crime. Ángel plans a grand heist and some payback, butut Ángel's heist is dependent on Nico, who wants only to be taken back by his estranged wife and son. Looming in the background is the warden who allowed inmates to rape and torture Ángel. Fearing (correctly) that Ángel will want revenge, the warden hires an assassin to kill him. Intertwined is Ángel's meeting with Victoria Ponce, a ballet student who wants to compose a dance to commemorate her dead father, a resistance member murdered by Pinochet's goons. Ángel helps Victoria move toward realizing her dream, and Nico eventually agrees to help with the heist, but with the assassin on his trail, Ángel may not be so lucky. Surprising jolts of humor flash throughout this powerful, humane novel. (Feb.)
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*Starred Review* After the fall of Pinochet’s dictatorship, the government grants amnesty to certain nonviolent criminals to ease the burgeoning prison populace. Returning to Santiago after his release from prison, the youthful thief Ángel Santiago seeks out the notorious criminal Nicolás Vergara Gray with plans for an ambitious heist. Vergara Gray has vowed to live a law-abiding life while mending his relationship with his estranged wife and son. Unfortunately, Vergara Gray is bankrupt, and Santiago’s persistence, along with the presence of his poetic dancer and girlfriend, Victoria Ponce, draws these three characters fatefully together. As in his earlier novel The Postman (inspiring the 1994 film Il Postino), Skármeta layers Chile’s rich history and literature between a sexy, seedy, and complex story line. He pays homage to his favorite Chilean literary figures, nodding to Pablo Neruda and interpreting the poet Gabriela Mistral through a renegade dance performance by Ponce. Santiago and Vergara Grey may be criminals, Skármeta shows us, but they are hardly philistines; rather, they are supreme lovers of art and appreciators of beauty—qualities that are much in evidence in this fine mix of literary and crime fiction.--Heather Paulson
- ISBN: 9780393064940
- Pages: 320
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Language: English
- Format: Hardcover