Although Heartbreak Tango may be classified as a realistic novel for its representation of an ordinary, familiar reality, it is not at all traditional in the development of its narrative. The portrayal of Juan Carlos Etchepare, dead from tuberculosis as the story begins, is effected primarily through his letters and through the testimonies of the other characters of the novel. The interviews, letters, newspaper reports, descriptions of photo albums, objective eyewitness accounts, and stream-of-consciousness passages included in the narrative present Juan Carlos as a childish, lovable, worthless philanderer, as if his personality were the incarnation of the less offensive characteristics of the literary and cultural stereotype of Don Juan.
Ten years after her infatuation with Etchepare, Nené writes letters to his mother, exploring the unfulfilled passion that she feels for him and gradually reconstructing the relationships of the dead man and the people who knew him. The scenario includes Francisco, who tries to emulate the romantic escapades of Juan Carlos but is murdered by Fanny, the young woman whom he impregnates, and Celina Etchepare, who fiercely defends her brother and at the same time tries to live up to his reputation for promiscuous, unbridled sexual freedom. Nené’s friend Mabel moves with no hesitation from lover to lover according to her idle whims. All of these characters recall the life of Juan Carlos with much nostalgic...
(The entire section is 409 words.)