Thursday, August 14, 2008

Read: "Tango For A Torturer" by Daniel Chavarria

Read: Tango For A Torturer by Daniel Chavarria, 2007, 9781933354194.

Very good. More of a literary novel than stuff I usually read. Kind of a crime novel but not quite. Uruaguyan author Chavarria has been writing in Spanish for quite a while but only recently has been getting translated - or so I read.

I avoid translations because so many are written in a style that is too "foreign". The styles are too thick or fantastic or meandering - they follow a cultural style I am too impatient or disinterested to learn. This one has some of that character but was very well written and, I assume, very well translated.

Aldo is a native Argentinian who was arrested and tortured in the early 1970s along with his wife. He now lives in Italy and while on vacation in Cuba discovers that Orlando, infamous Uruguayan torturer responsible, is now living under an assumed name in Cuba.

Aldo is busy trying to concoct a plot of revenge and screwing his Cuban hooker girlfriend, Bini, when Bini steals a car and gets stuck in mud. After extricating Bini's car during a nighttime storm Bini is giving him a handjob and Aldo runs over a bicyclist. Aldo easily convinces Bini to lie for him and blame Orlando for the crime. Orlando used to hire Bini and she assists in putting together frame-up.

Told from several characters with multiple flashbacks. Aldo was deeply effected by his torture and suffered sexual side affects for years until meeting the mercurial Bini. Bini is a a greedy and slutty gal but has the Oscar worthy heart of gold. Orlando is a vile piece of trash. He no longer works his "trade" and at first does not seem like too bad a guy. At first.

Other characters like Aldo's Cuban friends, a prison official, police investigators and others flesh things out. A major character is Cuba and Havana itself. The weather, the people, the food, the politics are all used to fantastic effect.

I'm very certain I read another Chavarria's Adios, Muchachos. But, that may have been before I started keeping track like this.

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