I’ve discussed Pablo Mourier’s work here before. His biting, funny stories lambast Argentine society with a a surgeon’s touch, applying the scalpel as opposed to the broad brush.
It might appear that this particular method is better suited to short fiction than to lengthier work, but Pablo’s novel, El silencio de los porteros (The Silence of the Doormen) is more of a good thing.
This is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud-funny look at how, even in our alienated modern society, we still live in villages where everybody’s life is everybody else’s business. The framing device is that the doormen of certain buildings in the best neighborhood in Buenos Aires are, unbeknownst to them, planning a huge extortion of the people who live in their buildings.
On the face of it, it makes sense, and everyone assumes it’s true. After all, these are the people who know everything that goes on, who’s sleeping with whom and where all the bodies are buried. It’s possible they buried a few themselves.
Of course, the conspiracy rumor takes on a life of its own and everyone gets dragged into the whirlwind and spat out the other side.
It’s both funny and timely, but I can’t really recommend it to most of my readers because, apart from it not being available in any language but Spanish, the book is also very much understandable only by Argentines. Hell, the rest of you won’t even understand a lot of the expressions, much less figure out why they’re supposed to be humorous.
But for those with the tools to understand, a lot of this book is priceless. Get a copy. Laugh out loud.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer. If you like a biting look at life, you can do a lot worse than his book Love and Death. You can buy it here.