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The Anatomist
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About the Author

A resident of Buenos Aires, Federico Andahazi was born in 1963. His short stories have received many awards, and The Anatomist is the winner of Argentina's prestigious Fortabat Prize. This is his first novel.

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Matteo Colombo of Padua, capable of rendering the most exquisite anatomical charts and who is in fact the most famous anatomist in Europe, is a Renaissance man infused with the spirit of Leonardo. The dissection of cadavers has long been forbidden by the Church, but it is not for this heresy that Matteo is hounded by the Inquisition. Much as the hands of a musician caress an instrument, his anatomist's hands have learned the magic of roaming a woman's body and, just as his namesake, Cristoforo Colombo, discovered America, Matteo discovers the small erectile organ hidden behind the fleshy labia that is today called the clitoris. And it is for this "crime" that he is imprisoned. Based on the actual historical case, this captivating first novel by a Buenos Aires psychiatrist is unexpectedly light, ironic, sensual, evocative of its era, and a pleasure to read. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/98.]‘Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland

In a first novel that aroused long-buried passions in his native Argentina, Andahazi takes readers back to the Renaissance in a fact-based satire about a scientist groping his way toward enlightenment. The relationships between religion and science, love and sex, and men and women are some of the themes that Andahazi addresses in his provocative story, which reigned at the top of the Argentinian bestseller list when the book became a literary scandal. During the age of discovery, renowned physician Mateo Colombo takes on an exploration nearly as perilous as the quest of his famous namesake, Christopher Columbus: he discovers the clitoris and scandalizes the religious and temporal powers of 16th-century Italy. Indeed, Colombo's motivations are not purely unselfish: he dreams of winning the love of one Mona Sofia, the most expensive prostitute in Venice. But after publishing his work he finds himself imprisoned and at the mercy of the vacillating political whims of the Vatican. Andahazi writes with wit and economy in prose that alternates between the lyrical and the mock-scholarly (both rendered seamlessly in Manguel's translation). He cleverly lures the reader into a sense of condescension toward Colombo only to underscore, ultimately, how little progress has been made in solving the problems that vexed him, despite several centuries of research, scientific and otherwise. (Sept.) FYI: The Anatomist won Argentina's prestigious Fortabat Prize for a first novel, but the prize was revoked by Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, the heiress who endows the award, on the grounds that the book's subject and style are obscene. Anchor is publishing a simultaneous paperback Spanish edition, El Anatomista.

"Charmingly salacious...shows off the wonderful wit and narrative gifts of a welcome new Latin American writer." --National Public Radio

"Compelling and complex." --Philadelphia City Paper "A fascinating book. The way Andahazi communicates the sense of exploration and possibility in Renaissance science and the inextricable links with philosophy and religion are extremely effective...gripping, a pleasure to read, and a very fine novel." --Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost "With The Anatomist, Andahazi deftly mines that delicious vein of wit and sensuality that runs from Boccaccio to Fellini, while slyly dissecting one of man's oldest obsessions: a woman's pleasure." --Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate

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