Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez

In the physical world anything which strikes is subjected to the same force in reaction; but in the moral world the reaction is stronger than the action. The reaction from being imposed upon is scorn; the reaction from scorn is hatred; the reaction from hatred is murder. - Giacomo Casanova, The Story of my life.

As the quote suggests this story is about actions and reactions, revenge and retribution. What kind of revenge would satisfy one? If somebody is responsible for the loss of a loved one, would the loss of the loved one for that person would satisfy one's thirst for revenge, or would one want more. It also explores wishful thinking- can you wish destruction and ruin on somebody and just your broken heart would be enough to make this happen. If the wishful thinking were put into words written as the book of murder, could words kill?

Luciana, who had been the temporary secretary of the narrator ten years before when he broke his hand, approaches him with rather a strange tale. Before she worked for him, Luciana was working for the famous writer Kloster. Over the last ten years all her relatives and loved ones are dying one after another. Her boyfriend, her parents, her brother are all dead. Now all she has is her grandmother and younger sister. She fears for their lives. Luciana believes that her previous boss Kloster is responsible for these deaths. Narrator is not sure what to make of the weird tale Luciana is telling. Has she lost her mind? Is the loss of all her loved ones and her own guilty conscience have pushed her over the edge of sanity? Have her misfortunes made her insane? Is it possible that one would be plagued by so many misfortunes just by chance? or is somebody really responsible for these misfortunes? Can such a thing even been possible? Why would a world renowned writer wreck the life of his secretary by killing all those around her?

Reluctantly the narrator meets Kloster and to know his version of the events. We all know that we all look at the same thing from our own perceptive and interpret it in our own way. Kloster story shows how the same event is interpreted differently by both of them. To Luciana, Kloster is a father figure. Kloster looks at Luciana as a temptress. When Luciana cracks her neck she is sending signals to Kloster. Luciana cracks the neck to relax her stiff neck. After all all the typing gives her a stiff neck. Luciana reacts to his attempt to kiss with shock, and is upset. Kloster feels that after all those signals she was sending, Luciana's reaction is exaggerated. But this one event shakes the equilibrium of his life putting it into utter chaos and ruin thus ruining her life too. Kloster holds Luciana responsible for his daughter's death by breaking the equilibrium of his life. It also shows how delicate the equilibrium we achieve in life by compromises is and how easily it could be tilted, one simple act could put the whole thing out of balance. And what takes to recreate the equilibrium again? A gripping short and intense psychological suspense!

The story is based in Buenos Aires and translated from Spanish by Sonia Soto.


kit said...

This sounds like a really interesting book - I've been looking for more psychological crime books lately, so I'll definitely keep this in mind! Thanks for the review.

srivalli said...

Thanks Kit for stopping by! I enjoyed this book, hope you enjoy it too, when you get around reading it.

guiltless reader said...

Wonderful review, Valli! The title alone is intriguing, but the whole push and pull, action and reaction dynamic makes me want to go read it! I've been having such great luck at discovering translated works lately. Thanks for the recommendation :)

srivalli said...

Thanks Aloi, for stopping by! It is an intriguing book, hope you enjoy it too!