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Juan José Saer (Serodino, Santa Fe, Argentina, June 28, 1937 – Paris, France, June 11, 2005) was one of the most important Argentine novelists of the last fifty years.

Juan José Saer
Juan José Saer.jpg
Born(1937-06-28)June 28, 1937
Serodino, Argentina
DiedJune 11, 2005(2005-06-11) (aged 67)
Paris, France
OccupationNovelist, writer
Educationlaw and philosophy
Alma materNational University of the Littoral
Notable awardsPremio Nadal


Born to Syrian immigrants in Serodino, a small town in the Santa Fe Province, Saer studied law and philosophy at the National University of the Litoral, where he taught History of Cinematography. Thanks to a scholarship, he moved to Paris in 1968. He had recently retired from his position as a lecturer at the University of Rennes, and had almost finished his final novel, La Grande (2005), which has since been published posthumously, along with a series of critical articles on Latin American and European writers, Trabajos (2006). In the year 2012, a first installment of his previously unpublished working notebooks were edited and published as "Papeles de trabajo" by Seix Barral in Argentina. A second volume soon followed, which was the result of five years of editing work by a team coordinated by Julio Premat, who wrote the introduction of the first volume. These notebooks allow readers a privileged insight into the creative processes of Saer. As critics point out, the books of Juan José Saer may be taken as a single "oeuvre", set in his "La Zona", a fluvial region around the Argentinian city of Santa Fé, populated by characters who are developed and become referential from novel to novel.

Saer's novels frequently thematize the situation of the self-exiled writer through the figures of two twin brothers, one of whom remained in Argentina during the dictatorship, while the other, like Saer himself, moved to Paris; several of his novels trace their separate and intertwining fates, along with those of a host of other characters who alternate between foreground and background from work to work. Like several of his contemporaries (Ricardo Piglia, César Aira, Roberto Bolaño), Saer's work often builds on particular and highly codified genres, such as detective fiction (The Investigation), colonial encounters (The Witness), travelogues (El río sin orillas), or canonical modern writers (e.g. Proust, in La mayor and Joyce, in "Sombras sobre vidrio esmerilado").

His novel La ocasión won the Nadal Prize in 1987. He developed lung cancer, and died in Paris in 2005, at age 67.

Several of his stories were turned into movies by his students, including Palo y hueso (Stick and Bone, 1968) directed by Nicolás Sarquís, Cicatrices (Scars) directed by Patricio Coll and Nadie Nada Nunca (No, No, Never, 1998) directed by Raúl Beceyro.[1]


  • El arte de narrar (1988) ISBN 950-9840-06-8
  • El arte de narrar : poemas, 1960/1975 (1977)
  • El arte de narrar : poemas (2000) ISBN 950-731-289-7
  • Cicatrices (1969)
  • El Concepto de ficción (1997) ISBN 950-9122-48-3
  • Cuentos completos, 1957–2000 (2001) ISBN 950-731-321-4
  • En la zona, 1957–1960 (1960) (2003) ISBN 950-731-312-5
  • El entenado (1983) ISBN 950-617-006-1 – (1988) ISBN 84-233-1632-7
  • The event translated by Helen Lane (1995) ISBN 1-85242-249-1
  • Glosa (1986) ISBN 84-233-1673-4
  • La grande (2005) ISBN 950-731-473-3
  • Juan José Saer (1986) ISBN 950-9106-78-X
  • El limonero real : novela (1974) ISBN 84-320-5312-0
  • Una literatura sin atributos (1986) (1996) ISBN 968-859-236-6
  • Lo imborrable (1993) ISBN 950-40-0092-4
  • Lugar (2000) ISBN 950-731-285-4
  • La mayor (1976) 8432025151 – (1982) ISBN 950-25-0641-3
  • Nadie nada nunca (1980) ISBN 968-23-0981-6
  • La narración-objeto (1999) ISBN 950-731-243-9
  • Narraciones (1983) vol. 1 ISBN 950-25-0666-9 – vol. 2 ISBN 950-25-0667-7
  • Nobody nothing never translated by Helen Lane (1993) ISBN 1-85242-273-4 (pbk)
  • Las nubes (1997) ISBN 950-731-172-6
  • La ocasión (1988) ISBN 84-233-1618-1
  • The One Before translated by Roanne Kantor (2015) ISBN 978-1934824788
  • Palo y hueso (2000) ISBN 950-731-270-6
  • La pesquisa (1994) ISBN 950-731-104-1
  • Responso (1964)
  • El río sin orillas : tratado imaginario (1991) ISBN 950-40-0066-5
  • La selva espesa (1994) ISBN 968-36-3995-X
  • Trabajos (2005) ISBN 950-731-480-6
  • Unidad de lugar (1967)
  • La vuelta completa (1966)
  • The Witness translated by Margaret Jull Costa (1990) ISBN 1-85242-184-3
  • "Shadows on Jeweled Glass" translated by Jim Hicks (The Massachusetts Review 51.1, 2010)
  • The Sixty-Five Years of Washington (2010) Glosa, as translated by Steve Dolph ISBN 978-1934824207


  1. ^ Julián Stoppello and Eliezer Budasoff (October 14, 2009). "Sobre Washington Nogueira, Tomatis y Pichón Garay". Cultura en Paraná. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2010.

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