Early life[ edit ] Onetti was born in Montevideo , Uruguay. He was the son of Carlos Onetti, a customs official of Irish descent, and Honoria Borges, a Brazilian who belonged to a Brazilian aristocratic family from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. He remembered his childhood as a happy time, describing his parents as a very close and loving couple with their children. The writer himself commented: "the first to come here, my great-great-grandfather, was English , born in Gibraltar. My grandfather was the one who italianized the name".
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The protagonists of his novels lead unhappy, isolated lives in an absurd and sordid world from which they can escape only through memories, fantasies, or death. Onetti studied at the university in Buenos Aires and held various jobs before he started writing. His first published work, the novella El pozo ; The Pit , treats the aimless life of a man lost within a city where he is unable to communicate with others.
Onetti lived in Buenos Aires from to , working as a journalist. The book has been viewed as an ironic allegory reflecting the decay and breakdown of Uruguayan society. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. This article was most recently revised and updated by Virginia Gorlinski , Associate Editor. History at your fingertips Sign up here to see what happened On This Day, every day in your inbox!
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El astillero – Juan Carlos Onetti