"Everything was closed but the streets were teeming and I felt as lonely as a dog, if by any chance dogs get lonely."
这本讲述一个美国学生在阿根廷2001年动乱期间在布宜诺斯艾利斯寻找神秘歌手的小说，是2007年8月在伦敦时便开始读的，其间数次放弃，直到2008年10月回国前才看完。收拾行李时卖给旧书店一些小说，犹豫了很久，还是决定留下这本折磨了我如此之久的书。也许是因为里面的某些句子，也许是因为曾经为主人公的遭遇感慨过，当然让我最终下定决心收藏它的还是看到最后一章，"The tango singer who I wanted to write about had died the very night I saw him for the first time".
- Wait, young man, he said, What are you going to remember about me?
I was surprised by the question that I answered the first thing that came into my head:
- Your voice. What I'll most remember is what I've never heard.
- Bring you ear close, he said.
I sensed that he was finally going to tell me what I'd waited so long to hear. I sensed tha if only for that moment, my journey was not going to have been in vain. I leaned over gently, or at least I meant to. I have no idea what I did because I was no longer inhabiting myself, and in my place was another body bending toward Martel, trembling.
When I had got close enough, he let the voice loose. In the past it must have been an extremely beautiful voice, unscathed, full as a sphere, because what was left of it, even thinned by illness, had a sweetness that didn't exist in any other voice in this world. He only sang:
- Buenes Aires, cuando lejos me vi. (Buenes Aires, when I'm far away.)
I used to think that it was his way of saying Goodbye to the city. I don't see it like that anymore. I think the city had already dropped him, and he, desperate, was only asking it not to abandon him.
6岁：the muscles of his left leg wasted away
11-12岁：spent hours listening to tangos on the radio
15岁：could repeat more than 100 songs
16岁：his legs were stiff and weak;
took 6 months to learn how to walk with crutches and a further 6 months to learn how to get around with walking stickes;
recorded his first disc for 3 pesos and the technician gave it to the radio station;
failed to find a job as singer in the clubs, so "he made use of his faultless memory to take bets on the pools, he was hired by a funeral director who ran a gambling den"
17-35岁： "He spent several years at these memotechnical activities and would perhaps have kept at it all his life if the owner hadn't rewarded him" by giving him a chance to sing in a competition. Then "faded into the routine of the funeral parlor where he worked 70 hours a week.
36岁：6 months in prison because of the raid on gambling den. "That misfortune left him even thinner and smaller. His cheek bones stuck out, his eyes looked darker and bulged from his gaunt face, but the voice remained intact, immune to illness and failure."
"The months flew by in a blur, not knowing where they were headed, as if the past were innocent of the future."
40岁：sang in the place of city, then was invited to sing in a bookstore. "Fixed salary, imagine that. Didn't know there was such a thing anymore."
6 months later, sang in the club Del Vino. "He frequently succumbed to malignant fevers or pneumonia." "None of his admirers knew that he arrived to sing in a wheelchair or that he wouldn't have walked more than three steps across the stage."