Books

On Heroes and Tombs

Ernesto Sabato (and others)

'A novelist of immense power ... uncompromising and original' Colm Tóibín

'I can feel the passage of time, as though it were coursing through my veins, along with my blood...'

One June day in 1955 Alejandra, last of a noble yet decaying Argentinian dynasty, shoots her father, locks herself up with his body, and sets fire to them both. What caused this act of insanity? Does the answer lie with Martín, her troubled lover, Bruno, the writer who worshipped her mother, or with her father Fernando himself, demonic creator of the strange 'Report on the Blind'? Their lives entwine in Ernesto Sabato's dark epic of passion, philosophy and paranoia in Buenos Aires.

'Bewitched, baroque, monumental' Newsweek

The Tunnel

Ernesto Sabato

Framed as the confession of a tormented outcast who has murdered the only woman capable of understanding him, Ernesto Sabato's The Tunnel has been acclaimed as a masterpiece by writers such as Albert Camus and Graham Greene. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Margaret Sayers Peden with an introduction by Colm Tóibín.

Infamous for the murder of Maria Iribarne, the artist Juan Pablo Castel is now writing a detailed account of his relationship with the victim from his prison cell: obsessed from the first moment he saw her examining one of his paintings, Castel had become fixated on her over the next months and fantasized over how they might meet again. When he happened upon her one day, a relationship was formed which swiftly convinced him of their mutual love. But Castel's growing paranoia would lead him to destroy the one thing he truly cared about...

Ernesto Sabato (1911-2011) was born in Rojas, a small town in Buenos Aires Province. He read physics at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and worked at the Curie Institute. After World War II, he lost faith in science and began writing fiction.

If you enjoyed The Tunnel, you might like Albert Camus' The Outsider, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Sabato captures the intensity of passions run into uncharted passages where love promises not tranquillity, but danger'
Los Angeles Times

'An existentialist classic ... Retains a chilling, memorable power'
The New York Times Book Review

Biography

Ernesto Sabato was born in Argentina in 1911. He earned a PhD in physics before relocating to Paris. After World War II, he lost faith in science and began writing fiction, although he would burn much of his work. His three published novels are The Tunnel (1948), his masterpiece On Heroes and Tombs (1961) and The Angel of Darkness (1974). He also led the commission investigating those who disappeared during Argentina's Dirty War of the 1970s. Sabato died in 2011, two months before his 100th birthday.