Wacky as Robert Walser―and equally doomed to an institutionalized life― the teenaged Martín Adán in the late 1920’s peered, with a kaleidoscope for a telescope, from the promenade of a Peruvian seaside resort. Casa de Cartón is one of the most delightful books in Latin American literature and The Cardboard House one of its most exuberant translations.
—Eliot Weinberger

Runner-up for the 2013 PEN Translation Prize

The Cardboard House

Fiction by Martín Adán

Translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

Published in 1928 to great acclaim when Martín Adán was just twenty years old, The Cardboard House is sweeping, kaleidoscopic, and passionate. The novel presents a series of flashes―scenes, moods, dreams, weather―as the narrator wanders through Barranco (then an exclusive seaside resort outside Lima). In one stunning passage after another, he moves from reveries of first loves, South Pole explorations, and ocean tides to precise and unashamed notations of class and race: from a native woman “with her hard, shiny, damp head of hair―a mud carving”―to a gringo imbibing “synthetic milk, canned meat, hard liquor.” (One gringa particularly facinates him: “Let’s remember Miss Annie Doll, tourist and photographer, a spring dressed in a jersey that sprang out of this Peruvian resort town’s box of surprises…a red, long sinewy mobile thing that carries a Kodak over its shoulder and asks questions that are wise, useless, and nonsensical.”)

Editions: PaperbackEbook

Buy from:

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published September 25, 2012)

ISBN
9780811219594
Price US
15.95
Price CN
15
Page Count
128

Ebook (published September 25, 2012)

ISBN
9780811219983
Price US
15.95

Martín Adán

Peruvian modernist writer

Wacky as Robert Walser―and equally doomed to an institutionalized life― the teenaged Martín Adán in the late 1920’s peered, with a kaleidoscope for a telescope, from the promenade of a Peruvian seaside resort. Casa de Cartón is one of the most delightful books in Latin American literature and The Cardboard House one of its most exuberant translations.
—Eliot Weinberger
Wonderfully youthful, poetically miraculous, The Cardboard House is the most representative — and the best — of the Latin American avant-garde of the 1920s.
—César Aira
I dreamt I was sixteen and Martín Adán was giving me piano lessons. The old man’s fingers, long as the Amazing Rubber Man’s, plunged through the floor and played a chain of underground volcanoes.
—Roberto Bolaño
This book is profoundly realist, but it is not a reproduction of exterior reality; it is rather the poetic, sensorial, intuitive, non-rational testimony of this reality.
—Mario Vargas Llosa