Ernest Sábato, one of the giants of Spanish-language literature, died on April 30.
Over subsequent decades “el Maestro”, as his compatriots came to refer to him, wrote thousands of influential essays, short stories and magazine articles. But he published only three novels. Those were enough, though, to win him the Cervantes Prize, the most coveted award among Spanish-language writers, in 1984. His lack of published output, he explained, was because he had a tendency to burn in the afternoon what he had written in the morning – it was not that he was making a point of “being existentialist”. He suffered from depression – nothing really mattered, good or bad. “It may be because I considered that all my work was imperfect, impure, and I found that fire was purifying,” he once said.