Celebratory of life, yes, but this novel is above all emblematic of the plurality and multiculturalism of the present we find ourselves living. The son of immigrants and committed to social struggle since his youth, Rosencof draws the reader into a working class setting with all the character of a local neighbourhood but which at the same time projects symbolically beyond itself. The barrio or neighbourhood in question becomes a point of departure for the conquest of its inhabitants’ right to exist. Here are people struck down by illness and engaged in a struggle not just with the hardships of their physical condition, but even more with a society that wants neither to accept nor understand them, whose eventual justification can come only through courageous struggle. The heroes of this story show faith in themselves and resourcefulness in their daily battles as they develop in moral stature, overcoming the disadvantages of exile. Increasingly, it is they who stand as examples for the native population.
Already known in part to the Italian public, in this novel the Uruguayan writer provides further evidence of the depth of his humanity and penetrating vision into human destiny, in a vehicle created from the clash between ideal dreams and shabby social reality. There is a sweet lightness in the way the events of the story are observed with friendly touches of irony.
Martha L. Canfield
Orignial publication: El barrio era una fiesta, Alfaguara, Madrid, September 2005
Italian publication: November 2011 (translation by David Iori)