A second 2010 Hammett Prize was awarded during the Semana Negra (Week of Fiction Noir) book festival in Gijon, Spain. Argentine writer Guillermo Orsi wowed the judges with his novel relating stories of rich cruise ship passengers abandoned in a slum at the edge of Buenos Aires; the tourists are left to their own devices when their ship runs aground in the shallow river Plate at the city’s edge.
The Editorial Almuzara website describes Orsi’s novel, The Holy City as:
Guillermo Orsi builds his novel (seductive, violent…shocking) from the flotsom and jetsam of the successive disasters that have drifted ashore from the River Plate to become Buenos Aires. With a gallery of unforgettable characters, Holy City is an absorbing and breathtaking x-ray a violent city dominated by corruption.
Born in Buenos Aires in November 1946, Guillermo Orsi is considered by critics to be a stalwart of the black fiction genre. He works as a journalist in Buenos Aires. His publications include several international prizewinners.
(text translated from Spanish by Carto)
Orsi’s novels, including The Holy City, (La Ciudad Santa) are yet to be translated into English, which is the major problem faced by many of the Spanish language fiction noir writers.
The Semana Negra book festival was organized by Paco Ignacio Talbo II who is a well known Mexican crime writer. The festival is one of the largest in Spain, but has a shoe-string budget and gives no monitary prizes—only prestige and a bit of fame among other crime-writers. I have one of Talbo’s novels in my library, Sombra de la Sombra (Shadow of a Shadow) which is a novel of political intrigue , corruption and assassination in Mexico City. It is an exciting and quick moving mystery set in a Mexico City recognized by tourists like myself (The Sanborns Azulejo Restaurant is the stage for one of the scenes).
Day 11: Sombra de la Sombra (Paco Ignacio Talbo II) (1997).