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Ashes of Orchids -O’Neill in Buenos Aires-
By Jorge Paolantonio

Ashes of Orchids -O’Neill in Buenos Aires-
by Jorge Paolantonio Translated by Nouha Gorani Homad. This book was originally published in Spanish.
ISBN-10:   978-1-934978-14-6

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Eugene O’Neill reached the port of Buenos Aires by the end of May 1910. He was just twenty-something and possibly running away from a problematic family which would later become the core of some of his main dramatic creations. O’Neill went onboard the Charles Racine and sailed down to Buenos Aires, without knowing that once there he would find and experience different aspects of hell: the impossible love for a prostitute, hunger and loneliness. A year later, he sailed back to his native land taking with him an incipient TB and a poem he never published: Ashes of Orchids
Paolantonio uses the title Ashes of Orchids to name this novel which tells us about Eugene O’Neill’s stay in Buenos Aires. Biographic information, a thorough research and a well balanced amount of fiction merge in this novel where verisimilitude is significant and absolutely revealing.
A provincial matron, an outcast English captain, the mulatto owner of a brothel and her five pupils revolve about Gene (O’Neill), the young sailor who gets to Buenos Aires – the “Queen of the River Plate”- in the fall of 1910. An eventful plot unfolds in the city capital of Argentina –at those times a town with a magnetic attraction for both pauperized immigrants and unscrupulous adventurers.

With an extraordinary literary talent, Jorge Paolantonio produces an unforgettable and polyphonic novel.

Vicente Battista
-Argentine critic and author

Paolantonio narrates with great skill the experiences of a young, afflicted and adventurous Eugene O´Neill who, like a wandering anti-knight, plunges into the peripheries and underworlds of a remote Buenos Aires at the beginning of the past century during his one-year stay in the city. Passion, illness, political agitation, marginality and a sense of incessant search subtly interweave in this wonderfully written novel.

Guillermina Rosenkrantz
-PH.D. Yale University

O'Neill in one of the less explored passages of his life: his stay in Buenos Aires in 1910. Paolantonio builds superb fiction based on true facts. The result is a major novel,  a fabulous frieze of unforgettable characters."         

Carlos Pintado
Cuban-American writer"


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Jorge Paolantonio was born in 1947, in Catamarca, Argentina. With a diploma in English (Universidad de Córdoba; Argentina), he took a postgraduate course in contemporary literature in Stockwell College (Kent) and PhD studies in modern languages at Universidad del Salvador (Bs As, Argentina). He is now a retired university professor.
He published nine volumes of poetry and three of his plays have been successfully staged in cities of Argentina and Latin America.
Other novels by him are Año de Serpientes (Year of the Snake) (1995), Algo en el aire (Something in the Air) (2004), and La Fiamma (The Flame) (2008). Ashes of Orchids -winner of the Literary Merit Grant by Fondo Nacional de las Artes in Argentina-, was shortlisted for Premio Planeta (2000) and became a “highly recommended book” in a nationwide reading plan designed by the Buenos Aires Secretary of Culture (2004). The book was also distinguished as “outstanding novel of the year 2004" by Fundación Honorarte. In 2007 it was awarded the First Prize (for novels published between 2002-3) by the Buenos Aires City Council.
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