An open secret by Carlos Gamerro
Translator – Ian Barnett
Carlos Gamerro is an argentina writer and literary critic ,born in 1962 he was broguth up speaking both spanish and english ,he has published six novels so far this is the first out in english and another the island due out next year .He has also translated shakespeare and Harold Bloom into spanish .
An open secret was the third novel I’d read from Argentina last year that dealt with the Dirty war period .Yet again it took another twist on the time ,the other two Purgatory took a wife who’s husband disappeared ,Kamchatka was told from a young sons point of view at the time .Now An open secret set in the present and uses a young man called Fefe as he returns to the town where his grandfather was Mayor and he spent summers as a boy ,he arrives at the small town of Malihuel ,he has a agenda and that is to get to the bottom of what happened to Dario Ezcurra who disappear in the dirty war time of 1976 to 1983.But tells them he is researching a piece on a fictional murder in a small town .As the action unfold the fact that only one man in a town of three thousand has become symbolic for the country as a whole as the futher Fefe goes the more people where there or knew what had happened ,you feel the danger as the locals try to close ranks and Fefe feels he might be in danager himself from the locals .
“So why did you choose us ? I mean there are so many towns in the province ” Don Leon wants to kno now .
“I used to come here as a boy ,”I reply”every summer.That’s how Gudio and I know each other ”
“He’s Echerzarrea,your grandfather ? ” Gudio chimes in.”poli’s son”
Fefe says why he came to Malihuel
I felt Gamerro caught a nation looking towards its self and fefe was in some ways a nations concious looking at what happened at that time ,and malihuel is a typical villages as Gamerro describes it intersped in the chapters the every day argentina place and I think this is him symbolising the place as thou it was any where in the country they all have petrol stations cafes etc .The book is paced very in the thriller esque mode that constant turning of the screw this is help as the speech has little or no punctuation thus give the effect of speed as thou the words can’t come quick enough , as Fefe moves towards the truth ,what was once a friendly place becomes dark and unfriendly as we see what the effect of one mans death had on this small town of three thousand yet even thou the town is small we get to meet a host of strange and wonderful characters almost like a cross section of the country as a whole .Yet again I’m amazed with the openness Argentina writers are now approach this time in there history .I look forward to Gamerro new novel I enjoted Ian Barnett translation he is based in Argentina and translated other writers from there and you get a feel he has a sense of the rhythm of the language .