The Clerk


by Guillermo Saccomanno

September 15, 2020
novel | pb | 138 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5" 


Winner of the 2010 Premio Biblioteca Breve de Novel

Perfectly normal men and women head to their desks every day in a city laid to waste by guerrilla incursions, menaced by hordes of starving people, murderous children and cloned dogs, patrolled by armed helicopters, and plagued with acid rain. Among them is the Clerk, who is willing to be humiliated in order to keep his job—until he falls in love and allows himself to dream of someone else.

To what depths is a man willing to go to hold on to a dream? The Clerk tells a story that happened yesterday, but that still hasn’t happened, and yet is happening now. A story we didn’t even notice because we’re too tied up in our own jobs, salaries, appearances. This novel embraces an anti-utopia, a world of Ballard but also of Dostoyevsky.

Translated from the Spanish by Andrea G. Labinger


About the Author:

Guillermo Saccomanno is the author of numerous novels and story collections, including El buen dolor, winner of the Premio Nacional de Literatura, and 77 and Gesell Dome, both of which won the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers. He also received Seix Barral’s Premio Biblioteca Breve de Novela for The Clerk and the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for nonfiction for Un maestro. Critics tend to compare his works to those of Balzac, Zola, Dos Passos, and Faulkner.

About the Translator:

Andrea G. Labinger is the translator of more than a dozen works from the Spanish, including books by Ana María Shua, Liliana Heker, Luisa Valenzuela, and Alicia Steimberg, among others.


Praise for Guillermo Saccomanno:

“By using a narrator who is not shocked, who does not look away from anything, 

A choral, savage, and ruthless work, considered to be the great Argentine social novel.”
—Europa Press

"77 sings a dark song of one man’s struggle to stay human when the inhumane lurks on every corner and the day-to-day reality of his world is curdled by the struggle between unchecked power and subversive acts."
—Ross Nervig, 
Southwest Review

“Like Twin Peaks reimagined by Roberto Bolaño.”
Publishers Weekly

“Cynical and funny: a yarn worthy of a place alongside Cortázar and Donoso.”
Kirkus Reviews

77 is ostensibly a novel about Argentina’s Dirty War; it is also a book about reconciling inaction with survival.
World Literature Today

“A great novel. . . . I am―as we all should be―grateful for 77 and all novels like it.
Patrick Nathan, Full Stop

77 is a taut historical thriller with noir overtones. . . . As his characters grapple with love, allegiance, and daily life under a dictatorship, every action is a form of resistance.
Foreword Reviews

Saccomanno shines a gruesome, graphic light on what people are willing to ignore so that their comfort remains intact.”
—Kim Fay, Los Angeles Review of Books