A Simple Story: The Last Malambo (Paperback)
"When he was finished, he pounded the floor with a monstrous force, froze on the spot and stood staring out through the fine layers of the night. And, half smiling---like a prince, like a ruffian, or like a devil---he tipped his hat."
Leila Guerriro's bears the marks (or scars) of the malambo. It's powerful, rhythmic, and economical, rising in bursts that sometimes explode from the page. She doesn't attempt a narrative of explanation; she tells us what people do, and what happens. And it is sublime.— Steve
Obsession and mastery in their purest states: the story of one dancer’s attempt to win the biggest contest of his life.
Every year, at the height of summer, the remote Argentine village of Laborde holds the national malambo contest. Centuries-old, this shatteringly demanding traditional gaucho dance is governed by the most rigid rules. And this festival has one stipulation that makes it unique: the malambo is danced for up to five minutes. That may seem like nothing, but consider the world record for the hundred-meter dash is 9.58 seconds. The dance contest is an obsession for countless young men, who sacrifice their bodies and money as they strive to become the champion, knowing that if they win—in order to safeguard the title’s prestige—they can never compete again. When Leila Guerriero traveled to Laborde, one dancer’s performance took her breath away, and she spent a year following him as he prepared for the next festival. The result is this superlative piece of journalism, told with tremendous economy and power.
About the Author
Leila Guerriero was born in Junín, Argentina, in 1967 and moved to Buenos Aires in 1984. She is one of Argentina’s foremost journalists and writers and has published four books.
Frances Riddle is a freelance editor, translator, and writer based in Buenos Aires.
Fascination and this quest to understand, which propels Guerriero's journey, is one readers will immediately become immersed in.
— Diane Goodman
Guerrero irrefutably proves that journalism is one of the beaux arts. Below the light and agile surface that grabs your attention from the first lines, she shows a sureness and a seriousness that confer on her work a powerful consistency.
— Mario Vargas Llosa
A Simple Story recounts delirious obsession and mastery, and proves
beyond a doubt that journalism has a place in the literary bracket.
Hats off to Guerriero
— Dan Piepenbring
A Simple Story is about an expression of a culture that, unlike tango, has been passed over, neglected or forgotten by all but a few devotees, for whom it is an obsession. Its obscurity, this book suggests, is its salvation.
An epic of noble proportions—Guerriero is a mistress of the telling phrase or the revealing detail.
— Sarah Crompton