Translated by Megan McDowell
During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist and narrator, dies after being struck by lightning. This marks the opening of a novel that combines memoir and fiction, as it unveils an urgent exploration of the brotherly bond, and the effects that death can have on our most intimate circles as well as on ourselves.
It’s always the happiest and most talented who die young. People who die young are always the happiest of all…
Can grief be put into words? Can we truly rationalise death and cohabit with it? Pain can only really be described in the past, not in the present; however, Mella chooses to narrate it in the future, as if all calamities are yet to unfold.
In a style that is reminiscent of that of Bret Easton Ellis and J.D. Salinger, and which in parts recalls David Cronenberg’s or Anthony Burgess’s examination of violence in society, Mella takes us with him in this dizzying journey right into the centre of his own neurosis and obsessions, where fatality is skilfully turned into an absorbing experience and a meditation on love, relations, grief, art and beliefs. A book impossible to put down.
‘This is a must-read book (...) a cathartic novel and another step in the consolidation of Mella as a remarkable writer.’ El País (Spain)