Welcome to D Reading Room, the online book club for people who like to read and riff about books. Our first title is Wonderful World by Javier Calvo, and it’s a fast ride. Some might say a bumpy ride. We say, let’s spend the next few months doing our best imitation of Michiko Kakutani and look at this book every which way. Calvo is one of Spain’s best new writers, and this is his first English translation. In the literary world, for what it is worth, this guy is hot stuff.
In the last section, we thought we were coming to some sort of “aha” moment when seemingly random events and characters would start to make sense. In this section, Calvo only adds to the confusion with more random events and a few side stories. In Lucas’ incompetence trial, poor Chicote is on the stand, being questioned by Lucas’ lawyer. He doesn’t know what to fear most: the sheer bulk of Anibal Manta, sitting on the front row, blackmailing him from Lucas’ side, or the ferocious wrath of Fanny, for whom he works. We get another slimy glimpse of the “Eclipse” room as the still-unbathed Suadade attempts to crash a party there—by burning it down. Pavel tries to escape to the land of the Rastafarian, but Farina catches him just as he’s boarding. Iris relieves Lucas of his virginity and gets more involved in the ultimate plot to steal the money and the paintings. She demonstrates her bargaining skills with Travers and makes the deal. For a yet-unknown reason, Yanel surfaces again at Lucas’ apartment—and Marcia finally gets a man. Meanwhile, we visit Valentina at the psychiatric center, where she’s living in the alien world of Stephen King’s novel. And, in the final dramatic moments of the trial, we get to witness Fanny’s legal demise as that brittle façade breaks apart and she tells the jury, “I should have strangled him at birth.”
Peggy:I don’t know about this part. Rather than advancing the plot, each chapter presents another sidetrack, such as Pavel’s spending a day at the racetrack watching Farina’s son or Yanel’s showing up in the story again, still whining about his poor state. Saudade continues to display his usual nasty habits; look on p. 333 for one of the most disgusting passages in the book. The only character I like is Iris. She’s becoming some kind of Lara Croft-like female superhero. She is flawless physically, she can drink anyone under the table, she kills everyone at darts, and she’s a fearless negotiator. Surely she’s going to make something come together. Please.
« Go back to the main Reading Room Page Visit Legacy Books »