This is the first (1926) novel published by the neglected Argentinian postmodernist writer (1900-42) whose phantasmagoric The Seven Madmen
(English translation, 1999) rivals the masterpieces of Cortázar, García Márquez, and Onetti. It's the story of Silvio Astier (told by himself in old age), a street thug inspired by "the thrilling literature of outlaws and bandits," and educated in crime by his Fagin-like mentor Rengo (a charmer of a villain if there ever was one). Mad Toy
bears interesting resemblances as well to both Don Quixote
and Luis Buñuel's classic naturalist film Los Olvidados
. In addition to the novel's own considerable interest, Aynesworth's illuminating remarks about Arlt's vigorous "polyglot style" shed further light on a richly entertaining and unquestionably important work.
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