Senselessness Fiction
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Product Description

An alcoholic, atheist, sex-obsessed writer finds himself employed by the Catholic Church (an institution he loathes) to edit the testimonies of the survivors of slaughtered Indian villages. The writer's job is to tidy up the 1,100 page report: "that was what my work was all about, cleaning up and giving a manicure to the Catholic hands that were piously getting ready to squeeze the balls of the military tiger." Mesmerized by the eerie poetry of the Indians' phrases, the increasingly agitated and frightened writer is endangered twice over: by the spell exerted over his somewhat tenuous sanity by the strangely beautiful heart-rending voices, and by real danger. The Church is hunting the military, but the military is still in charge of the country, and our booze-soaked writer is soon among the hunted - or is he paranoid? Or is he paranoid and one of the hunted?

Editorial Reviews

This quirky seventh novel by Castellanos Moya, a member of Central America's younger generation of writers, is his first translated into English. The nameless narrator is lured from his native El Salvador to an unnamed neighboring country (ostensibly Guatemala, but it could pass for anywhere) to copyedit for the Catholic Church an 1100-page report detailing the atrocities committed by the army against guerrillas and their indigenous sympathizers. As he becomes more and more involved with the report, he assimilates its shocking testimonies, as phrases from the text, such as the opening line—"I am not complete in the mind"—haunt and torment him. Compulsive and paranoid, he imagines dire events are happening to him when reality indicates otherwise. In one instance, he hides so as not to be spotted by some questionable types he thinks are plotting against him; he panics when he feels hot breath on his neck, thinking that the perpetrators are out to get him only to find out that it's the panting of a mastiff puppy. The report's grimness is offset by the humor in the narrator's life, as when an amorous episode is aborted when the protagonist takes a whiff of his lover's smelly feet. The narrator eventually escapes this nightmare by fleeing to Germany—or so we are led to believe. Recommended where Latin American literature is popular.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH

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