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Golden Hour Books

The Novices of Lerna by Angel Bonomini (5/7/24)

The Novices of Lerna by Angel Bonomini (5/7/24)

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The Novices of Lerna introduces the enigmatic fictions of Ángel Bonomini to English readers for the first time. Shot through with wry humor and tender absurdity, these meditations on identity, surveillance, and isolation remain eerily prescient.

The collection’s central novella follows Ramón Beltra, an unambitious scholar who receives a mysterious invitation to a lucrative six-month fellowship at the University of Lerna in Switzerland. After he reluctantly complies with the unusual qualifying paperwork requiring several pages of detailed measurements and photographs of his entire body, Beltra soon finds himself in the deserted university town of Lerna, together with twenty-three other “novices” subject to the same undisclosed project—all of them doppelgangers of Beltra himself. At first, Beltra is the only one to bristle at the school’s dizzying array of rules and regulations, but this all changes with the onset of an uncontrollable epidemic, and the fellows begin dying off one by one...

An overlooked master of Argentine fantastic literature, Ángel Bonomini garnered praise among peers and contemporaries like Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, before slipping mysteriously into obscurity. Born in Buenos Aires in 1929, Bonomini was forty-three years old in 1972 when he published The Novices of Lerna, the first of four books of short stories he released before his death at age sixty-four.

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