Simón Cardoso had been dead for thirty years when Emilia Dupuy, his wife, found him at lunchtime in the dining room of Trudy Tuesday.
So begins Purgatory, the final and perhaps most personal work of the great Latin American novelist Tomás Eloy Martínez. Emilia Dupuy's husband vanished in the 1970s, while the two were mapping an Argentine country road. All evidence seemed to confirm that he was among the thousands disappeared by the military regime. Yet Emilia never stopped believing that the disappeared man would reappear. And then he does, in New Jersey. And for Simón, no time at all has passed. In Martínez's hands, this love story and ghost story becomes a masterful allegory for history political and personal, and for a country's inability to integrate its past with its present.
Tomas Elroy Martinez was born in Argentina in 1934 a and lived in exile during the military dictatorship. His internationally celebrated books include The Peron Novel, Santa Evita, and The Tango Singer, and he was shortlisted for the International Man Booker Prize in 2005. He was a professor of Latin American studies at Rutgers University until his death in January 2012.