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An immigrant son of a German father and an Italian mother, Arlt as a youth was a school dropout, poor and often hungry. In Mad Toy, he incorporates his personal experience into the lives of his characters. Published in 1926 as El juguete rabioso, the novel follows the adventures of Silvio Astier, a poverty-stricken and frustrated youth who is drawn to gangs and a life of petty crime. As Silvio struggles to bridge the gap between exuberant imagination and the sordid reality around him, he becomes fascinated with weapons, explosives, vandalism, and thievery, despite a desperate desire to rise above his origins. Flavored with a dash of romance, a hint of allegory, and a healthy dose of irony, the novel's language varies from the cultured idiom of the narrator to the dialects and street slang of the novel's many colorful characters.
Mad Toy has appeared in numerous Spanish editions and has been adapted for the stage and for film. It is the second of Arlt's novels to be translated into English.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 184
Weight: 263 g
Dimensions: 229 x 140 x 12 mm
"Roberto Arlt is the greatest Argentine writer of the twentieth century."-Ricardo Piglia, author of The Absent City and Artificial Respiration
"With a novel such as Mad Toy, brimming with fantasy and romance, yet pulling the rug out from under the protagonist-and the reader-at every turn, it seems clear that Arlt's purpose is not just to tell a good story. Along the way, he also illustrates the uses of fantasy and humor. Fantasy, transforming the sordid into the beautiful, makes life seem sweeter; humor, exposing the illusions of fantasy, makes wisdom tolerable."-from the Introduction
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