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"So I Killed Her"

From Daniel Swift’s aptly titled review of The Taker and Other Stories in this weekend’s Financial Times:

To call these short stories is perhaps to indulge in a genteel euphemism: these violent little narratives more closely resemble rants, confessions or boasts. A married man likes to run over pedestrians in his powerful car. Another man gives money to a beggar and then kills him. They each narrate their own perverse behaviour but never try to justify or explain. “I’m going to cut off somebody’s head with a single blow with the machete,” one man tells us, and a little later: “I felt like strangling someone.” This story is called “The Taker” and it is wholly right that this should also be the title of the collection, for all Fonseca’s narrators are takers, hungry and desperate.

Perhaps the best story in this collection is “Account of the Incident”. A passenger bus drives into a cow and kills it. As the dead animal lies on the roadside, local men and their wives run to it, bringing knives to cut away the meat. Everything becomes ordinary in the world of these stories, even hunger, violence and shock.



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