Latest review: "La paz de los vencidos" by Jorge Eduardo Benavides
Here’s the beginning of Brendan’s review—which is long overdue in being posted, for which I apologize—and which can be seen over at New Spanish Books with other similar reader’s reports on Spanish titles. It’s a great and informative source; if you haven’t already checked it out—and in particular if you have an interest in Spanish-language literature (or the possibility of translating it!):
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated to Santa Cruz from La Laguna, our lonely diarist supports his frugal existence by reporting to a dead-end job at a slot machine parlor. The diary’s dates span October 5 to May 2 of the following spring of a nameless year(s) that seems to be the late 1990s near the end of the Fujimori presidency.
In a series of moving, artfully crafted entries that impressively synthesize the emotional spontaneity of self-reflection and metatextual associations, the narrator explores his life, friendships, and love affairs past and present. Benavides’s limpid narration smoothly fuses memories, hopes, and the familiar anguish of the lovelorn bachelor with keen, critical observations––alternately piercing, touching, scathing, hilarious, and mordant––of contemporary life, and the perennial struggle involved in retaining one’s dignity while trying to remain true to intellectual attitudes and artistic aspirations. Like the narration, the dialogue––either reported or quoted––is also clear, straightforward, and plausible, never feeling contrived or artificial.
For the rest of the review, go here.