Biography of Jorge Onetti (1931-VVVV)

Narrator and journalist uruguayo-argentino, born in Buenos Aires in 1931. Son of the great Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti, has managed to steal the powerful shadow projected by the universal figure of his father thanks to an original narrative work that, from an ironic and satirical, approach explores with singular success in argentina in the second half of the 20th century (and reality, in a very marked way, in the complex economic and political situation of the southern country).

The literary environment that breathed from child allowed Jorge Onetti develop at an early age his humanistic vocation and opting for the cultivation of writing, both in its journalistic and literary mode. Although born in Buenos Aires, he/she lived during part of his childhood and throughout his youth in Montevideo, where he/she studied journalism and began to work as an informer; Subsequently, he/she moved to his hometown and continued there by deploying their journalistic activities, at the time that began to be known as a writer within the collective of authors 'New expression'. At the end of the Decade of the sixties, this group gave the press a collective volume of stories which, under the heading of contemporary Argentine writers (1958), collecting the first stories published by Jorge Onetti, who, after seven years, brought these new stories and other hitherto unpublished short stories in the volume entitled Cualquiercosario (La Habana(: Casa de las Américas, 1965), awarded the prestigious premio Casa de las Américas, which grant the Cuban cultural authorities in the same year of its release.

Become, following the obtaining of this important award, one of the most unique voices of Argentine fiction of the sixties, Jorge Onetti prepared a second edition of this volume for publication in Uruguay, which added some previously unpublished stories. Now published under the title of Cualquiercosario and other things (Montevideo: Arca, 1967), this augmented Edition of his opera prima confirmed in the country of their elders a literary reputation that radiated from Buenos Aires, began to spread wide geocultural dominated by the Spanish, including the Iberian Peninsula already.

In fact, only two years after the appearance of the Montevideo Edition of his stories was born in Spain the first - and to date, only - extensive novel of Jorge Onetti, entitled Contramutis (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1969). It's a narrative halfway between experimental prose (with resources taken directly from the specific languages of cinema and comic) and socio-political, rife with satire of big finds humorous ranging from parody names of some of his characters (like general Marcial Focilón and his wife Elbita, adored by the people on which governs her husband) until political winks trying to dismantle all solemn speeches, from the spoken by the official power to the supported by the revolutionary idealism (not in vain the utopian proposal that opens and closes the novel invites to facilitate the arrival of the "macanudo man").

The humor, then, served the bitter satire and irony lucid it constitutes one of the main hallmarks of the narrative of Jorge Onetti and, especially, his novel Contramutis, in which that references to the social and political reality of the Argentina that appeared, veiled way, in Cualquiercosario stories are now much more explicit. The Buenos Aires writer tells the story of Roberto Lupo it upon their return to their place of origin (called Sitiecito), which will end up committing suicide after suffering the effects of a caricatured peronism (played by the above-named Focilon and Elbita), against which stands the revolutionary momentum of major guerrilla Vergara.

In General, both the stories and the extensive narrative of Jorge Onetti already anticipate current that would then be tagged by the specialized critic as post-boom, in allusion to the overcoming of aesthetic and ideological values which the authors responsible for the so-called Boom in Spanish-American narrative had been in vogue. Openly ironic approach is one of the most significant features of the majority of the authors of the post-boom, approach that in Onetti some heights of grotesque and corrosive satire that, at the time of the publication of Cualquiercosario, constituted a radical novelty in the prose of Latin American fiction. Another generational characteristics of these authors that is well present in the texts of Jorge Onetti is the adoption of one minor tone and fragmentary formal approaches that contribute to underline the degradation and decomposition of that society and those worn institutions described mercilessly by the post-boom writers.


RAVONI, M.: "key family for Jorge Onetti", Casa de América (La Habana), v, 32 (1965).

J. R. Fernández Cano.