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Heißer Mond , by Mempo Giardinelli

Heißer Mond - Mempo Giardinelli

Luna caliente = Heisser Mond = Hot Moon (translated into English as Sultry Moon)


Mempo Giardinelli (b. 1947) is an Argentinian writer who spent 6 years of exile in Mexico during the worst of the Argentinian military dictatorship. Luna caliente  was published in 1983, towards the end of his exile and was awarded the Premio Nacional de Novela of Mexcio, the first time a non-Mexican was awarded this most prestigious prize. It has been translated into a number of languages, including English and German. 

And the book? This review will be short, because I don't want to spoil the story with its surprise ending.


Luna caliente is a fascinating, gripping, astounding nightmare which, like all nightmares, is completely real until one wakes up. And it seems that the protagonist is never going to wake up...


A newly minted attorney returns from France in 1977 to his native northeastern Argentina in order to make a career under the military dictatorship which ruled Argentina until 1983. He is apolitical and is only interested in the social climb (and women). However, almost immediately after returning home he meets his nemesis and totters from one disaster to another, which worsens and worsens and worsens. This short, intense book gripped me as tightly as the plot clenched the protagonist. The author found room in this thin volume for irony and black humor, as well as for a chilling evocation of the activities of the special police under the dictatorship. But these are just seasoning for the main course - the central nightmare, which I won't spoil for future readers...


Giardinelli outraged me, angered me, fascinated me and then surprised me as the book became stranger and stranger. I've never read anything quite like this before. It's time for me to start looking for Giardinelli's other books.