Tartarian Nights is the first novel written by teenage Argentine author Benjamin Harguindey. It was published on May 2006:
The novel chronicles the attempts of young Rodrigo Dament to avenge his beloved's death, Berenice, at the hands of a number of his classmates. Set on Winter season in Mar del Plata, the novel has Rodrigo wandering the city underworld, seeking revenge.
Unlike other "revenge stories", Rodrigo's quest for vengeance is ultimately futile, as he soon realizes that he need not play vigilante with his enemies, since "evil brings its own downfall". For as much as he tries to exact his revenge, he can only bring himself to witness either death or self-destruction from his enemies, which causes him to change his own values, and eventually forget vengeance.
Allusions/references to other works
The novel is loaded with references, quotes and parallels to many books and movies.
The plot quite notably resembles Dante Alighieri's love on Beatrice. Dament (Dante) loves Berenice (Beatrice), but never manages to say so, and she dies before she may confess his feelings. Dament's journey parallels Dante's trip to his Inferno, complete with Berenice appearing at the end to guide him out.
Two other references to Dante: the name of the cemetery where Beerenice is buried and Cavalcanti, the name of Dament's institute (surname of Alighieri's second beloved).
A lot of the Mar del Plata settings are real, but have their names lost in annagrams. One notable exception is the Golf Club.
Names of the characters in particular give away their own designs when they are decoded.
Berenice is a reference to Beatrice.
Fazzi's name is a play of fascism. He is referenced a good many times as leading a march all over the city, a parallel to Mussolini.
Flora del Cieno's name means literally "swamp flower".
Ariel Aldrich's name is a homage to Thomas Aldrich. Both share the same quote: "beauty does not die, but rather pass on as another form of beauty".
Aldrich's friends, Robertos Rios and Duglas Alfredo parallel Oscar Wilde's lovers, Ross and Douglas. Aldrich's other gay friend, Walter Carlos, is a reference to transsexual Wendy Carlos.
The killer Gonzalo Uor is two-way reference to war: the name Gonzalo is Spanish for warrior, and Uor is the phonetic equivalent of the English word "war".
The headmaster's name, Valencia Zilch: 'valencia' is Spanish for 'value' or 'grade'; 'zilch' is synonimous with 'zero' in English. This makes a literal translation of his name, "value zero", otherwise, "worthless" or "useless".
There is also an early homage to A Clockwork Orange: at one point in the novel, Dament mimicks Alex's initial monologue. Other parallels between Alex and Dament are found scattered through the novel: Rodrigo tells the story using words of his own invention. This tendency flows accordingly throughout the novel, depending on the situation.
The book generated a certain amount of controversy due to its graphic nature (in spite of amounting practically null body count) and a certain number of subjects both parodied and criticized in its plot .
About the author
Benjamin Harguindey was born on July 1, 1989 in Buenos Aires and currently resides in Mar del Plata, the setting for the novel.
[*], YouTube video of the author signing books at the 32nd Annual Book Fair in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
[*], notes on the novel, 2006
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Tartarian Nights