‘Rage’ by Sergio Bizzio.

One of the more unusual plots for a book I’ve ever read, it reads more like a screenplay and indeed Guillermo del Toro is planning to make a film out of it. Really beautiful, mesmerising, oddly captivating; it’s a tale of self-imprisonment and exile, the pain of so-near-yet-so-far.

Argentinian builder Jose Maria murders his foreman and resorts to hiding in the four-storey mansion of a wealthy Senor where his beloved works as a maid. But she is unaware of his presence. As their lives continue things get more and more complicated betwen them, with Jose Maria gradually turning into a phantasm, flitting around unobserved and eavesdropping on secrets.

The title seems slightly out of place, it’s called Rabia in the original Spanish version (2004), and described by Le Temps as a “Vitriolic portrait of Buenos Aires society…” and yet I see a rather metaphorical detachment to much of the violence portrayed by the author. I certainly see not much by way of “… a portrait etched in acid of a Buenos Aires society menaced by economic and political crisis…” (ibid). Perhaps I’m missing some subtext here.

I was instead rather charmed by the prose descriptive style, which vividly brings to life all the characters and scenes as seen from the viewer/reader’s eyes, and the dialogues (both real and internal) are very naturalistic.

An excerpt follows:

One evening he heard “new” voices inside the house. Leaning over the second-floor banister, he could catch intermittent glimpses of a man in a dark suit and a woman who, from his vantage point, seemed to consist in little else but a bright yellow wig balanced on the points of two stiletto shoes which came and went almost hysterically beneath full white skirts, and which made her appear like an energetic fried egg.

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