First published in 1920, The Mad Toy is set in Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. Feeling the alienation of youth, Silvio Astier's gang tours neighbourhoods, inflicting waves of petty crime, stealing from homes and shops until the police are forced to intervene. Drifting then from one career and subsequent crime to another, Silvio's main difficulty is his own intelligence, with which he grapples. Writing in the language of the streets and basing his writings in part on his own experience, with his characters wandering in a modern world, Arlt creates a book that combines realism, humour and anger with detective story. Trailblazing for Boom writers who were to follow him such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, Roberto Arlt is rated as one of the greatest Argentinean writers. Although astronomically famous in South America, Roberto Arlt's name is still relatively unknown in Anglophone circles, but the rising wave of appreciation of South American literature is bringing him to the fore.