The Story of the Night
by Colm Toibin

Henry Holt: 1997
324 pp., $23.00
ISBN: 0-8050-5211-9

Review by Harriet Klausner

Argentina in the early 1980's is not a good place to live if you are either a homosexual or have some English blood flowing through your veins.

To Richard Garay, Argentina is an abominable place to live because his mother is English and he is gay. However, the Falklands War (between his nation and Great Britain) turns out to be a blessing in disguise for the unhappy Richard when it enables him to become involved with the American diplomatic corps stationed in Buenos Aires. Professionally, Richard does extremely well for himself as he translates Spanish into English and visa versa, and advises on the country and its people to his employer, the Americans.

His personal life also takes off when he meets Pablo and the pair starts out by sharing a loving relationship. Richard also has an opportunity to glimpse what life for a gay could be like in a free society. However, as their relationship intensifies, AIDs intrudes on the happy couple.

The Story of the Night is an absolutely incredible reading experience that will thrill almost anyone who gives Colm Toibin's novel a chance. The novel is set on two planes. One centers on the metamorphosis of a nation from a military dictatorship to a democracy. The other theme focuses on a personal relationship that is condemned by the social strictures of that country. Both planes are blended together in a brilliant novel that should be recognized as one of the best of the year so far.

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