Hugh Hazelton, translator
translated by Hugh Hazelton
full size book cover
“One of the few novels I have read in recent years that really caused a pause in my way of thinking and a reconsideration of my ideas of right and wrong. Sunset is a novel I would (and have) recommend(ed) to anyone who enjoys contemplating the assumptions that we, as a people, make.
“I can’t sing praises highly enough for this work and for Urbanyi’s masterfully witty and darkly humourous style of writinganother author to add to my list of favourites. Thank you, Broken Jaw Press.”
Koreen McCullough, Grey Borders
“darkly humorous novel”
Atlantic Books Today
“Sunset is a politically incorrect book, drenched with black humour and immense sadness, about an Argentine family trying to decide what is best for a baby, newly born with terrible deformities and handicaps.
“Sunset is unlike anything being written these days by mainstream English-Canadian authors”
“Much of the course of the narrative is set in Buenos Aires; its cosmopolitan atmosphere and diverse immigrant ethnicity, convincingly interwoven in the dominant theme by sequences of pungently humorous dialogue, offer some tangential relief from the pathos of the story. Ultimately, Sunset is the love story of two people sorely tested in the crucible of a personal tragedy needlessly prolonged by scientific egoistic self-indulgence. What’s more, it masterfully involves the reader in the challenges posed by today’s runaway science. In this sense, its artistic function is nobly served.
“Urbanyi’s distinctive biting satire resonates strikingly poignant in Sunset...it masterfully involves the reader in the challenges posed by today’s runaway science. In this sense, its artistic function is nobly served.”
Nélida Galovic Norris (University of Miami), Chasqui, Texas
“Mordant, inappropriate, at times ferocious, politically incorrect, indifferent to the clichés of sentimentality and humanitarianism, Sunset is also infinitely sad and despairingthough not without the possibility of hope.”
María Rosa Lojo, Revista Criterio, Buenos Aires
“Sunset both seduces and disturbs the reader by recounting a tragedy in an unexpected and highly effective range of narrative tones. It is at once emotional and distant, pathetic and humorous, ironic and cruel.”
Florinda F. Goldberg, Revista Hispamérica, Washington
Known for his acerbic humour and incisive questioning of established norms, in Sunset Pablo Urbanyi examines one of the most controversial and widely debated issues in society today: the ethical and moral questions involved in choosing the right to live or the right to die. Urbanyi's novel, however, takes the debate a step further: it examines the possibility of death as a moral duty in order to provide a better quality of life not only for a deformed child, but for his parents and future brothers and sisters as well. In ancient Greece, the Spartans would hurl misshapen children from the heights of Mount Taygetus. How much have we progressed since then? Should we speak of mercy killing? We believe we are born to lead the longest life possible; Sunset puts forward the possibility of being born to die as soon as possible.
Sunset is the story of Pedro and Ana, a young Argentine couple living in a small town on the pampas near Buenos Aires, whose first child is born with crippling medical complications that will leave him in a vegetable-like state for the rest of his life. Though his parents opt for one course of action, the medical establishment, both in the private and public hospitals, is not necessarily interested in carrying out their wishes. Their ordeal leads them into an ever stranger and more desperate labyrinth of medical ethics, in which others would like to decide their son’s fate for them.
About the Author
Pablo Urbanyi was born in Hungary in 1939. After World War II his parents immigrated to Argentina, where he was raised and educated. His first book of short stories, Noche de revolucionarios (Night of the Revolutionaries), was published in Buenos Aires in 1972. His second book, Un revólver para Mack (A Revolver for Mack), a parodic detective novel, was published in 1975. In the same year he began to work as a journalist for the cultural supplement of La Opinión, the principal liberal newspaper in Buenos Aires. When the paper was shut down after the military coup of 1976, he immigrated to Canada with his family, eventually becoming a Canadian citizen.
After settling in Ottawa, he continued his literary career, establishing himself as one of the foremost satirical writers of fiction in contemporary Argentine literature, particularly for his ability to touch on basic societal and existential problems in a comical way. En ninguna parte, a satirical novel set in a Canadian university, was published in Buenos Aires in 1981. It was translated into English and French, and published in Canada as The Nowhere Idea (Williams-Wallace, 1981) and L’idée fixe (VLB, 1988). Over the next few years he published three books of short stories: De todo un poco, de nada mucho (A Little About Everything, A Lot About Nothing) in Argentina; A hagyaték (The Legacy) in Hungary; and Nacer de nuevo (Born Again) in Canada. In 1993 he was a finalist in the Argentine Planeta Award for his novel Silver, the story of a gorilla raised as a human being by anthropologists from California. Silver was published in Buenos Aires in 1994; it was also translated into French and published in Montreal in 1999. A French version of Un revólver para Mack was published by VLB in Montreal in 1993. Puesta de sol (Sunset) was published in the original Spanish by Girol Books (1997) in Ottawa, and has appeared in French translation by Danièle Marcoux as La Vérité de Pinocchio (Québec Amerique, 2004). His science fiction novel 2058, en la Corte de Eutopía, was published in Buenos Aires in 1999, and his latest novel, Una epopeya de nuestros tiempos, set in Canada, was published in Buenos Aires by Catálogos in 2004.
Urbanyi has received several awards for his work, as well as grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Urbanyi has given conferences and lectures in Hungary, the United States, Spain, Argentina, Germany and Canada, and is a member of PEN International.
About the Translator
Hugh Hazelton is a poet and translator who specializes in the work of Latin American writers living in Canada. He co-edited, with Gary Geddes, and was principal translator of Compañeros: An Anthology of Writings About Latin America (Cormorant, 1990). His other translations include The Better to See You (Cormorant, 1993), Jade and Iron: Latin American Tales from Two Cultures (Groundwood, 1996), Túnel de proa verde/Tunnel of the Green Prow (Broken Jaw, 1998) and Cuerpo amado/ Beloved Body (Broken Jaw, 2002) from Spanish and Headstrong All the Way Round (Graf, 2000) from French. He teaches Spanish translation and Latin American civilization at Concordia University in Montreal. His third poetry collection Antimatter (Broken Jaw, 2003), is a book+audio CD.
Cover: Hieronymus Bosch, “Garden of Earthly Delights” (detail)
2003, novel (BISAC: FIC190000, FIC035000)
English world rights
216 pp, 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN 1-55391-014-1 (tp) / $23.95
Selected Book Activities
7 June 2003: ReadingHugh Hazelton & Pablo Urbanyi reading @ Literary Translators Association of Canada event, Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON.
8 June 2003, 2 pm: book signing with Hugh Hazelton @ Literary Press Group of Canada booth, BookExpo Canada tradeshow, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto ON.
16 June 2003, 8 pm: Book launch/readingnovelist Pablo Urbanyi and Hugh Hazelon (translator) launch for Sunset (Broken Jaw Press, 2003). Room 156, National Library of Canada, 395 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON.
11 Oct 2003, 7:30 pm: Reading Pablo Urbanyi, with Hugh Hazelton, translator. Ottawa International Writers Festival @ the National Library and Archives, 395 Wellington, Ottawa, ON.
2 April, 2005: Hugh Hazelton and Pablo Urbanyi reading @ Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, Montreal Regency Hyatt, Montreal, QC