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
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.