Under this terrible sun by Carlos Busqued

Under Sun

Under this terrible sun by Carlos Busqued

Orginial title – Bajo Este sol Tremendo

Translator – Megan McDowell

Source – review copy

Well I decide to review some of the wonderful books from Frisch and co over the next few weeks .Frisch and co are an e-book only piublisher of translated fiction and now just before christmas seemed a great time with Tablets and eReaders being this years top gift for most people ,everyone will be waking up on Christmas day turning there eReader or tablets on and wanting to place some great books on so I will point you in Frisch and co way .This book by the Argentina writer Carlos Busqued ,is a Buenos Aires based writer this book was his debut novel and was listed for the Prix Herralde ,it won praise for its use of direct language that may be vile but takes you to the heart of the expression .

The phone rang. The caller ID said “unknown,” which meant a call from a public telephone. Or from a person who was deliberately hiding their number. He didn’t answer.

Who is the call from ?

Under this terrible sun although quite unique in the books from Argentina I have read can be said to be in a vein of books from there ,the Lit thriller / crime novel .The pacing of the writing is very much like a thriller and the style is more akin to a lit novel .The book centres on a son whose mother has died this son Cetarti ,is a bit of a loser , well he remind me of a character that had maybe be cut from the Coen brother film The big lebowski or a side figure in Pynchon inherent vice ,this guy lives in a world of weed and documentary tv ,especially programmes about Giant squid for some reason .So Cetarti heads north to the part of Argentina his mother whom he had lost real touch with  when she lived .So he heads to the north of Argentina where he is  meet by the Lawyer Durate that is dealing with his mother’s estate .This leads to a side story of this Lawyers sideline and the man that helps him with this sideline Daniello (Now I viewed this guy as rather like the northern Argentina version of Cetarti a laid back dud that tends to follow what he is told to do just for an easy life ) Well the sideline happens to be transferring porn from old videos to digital content .Well that is the story it develops as we see the vile nature of the porn the men deal in and the waiting for the estate to be settled and how ever  there may be fraud involved .

He missed his car. At that moment, he would have liked to get on the highway with no specific plan. Cruise along the national highway system smoking the marijuana he had left, only stopping in service stations to fill up on gas, shower, and eat. He had a pleasant memory of the insects smashing against the windshield seconds after being illuminated by the car’s headlights. Sleep on the side of the road. Go with the flow. Smash into something on the road, in the final hours of an afternoon.

I choose this quote as it was highlighted by E J the publisher on the copy I read on Readermill .

Well this book owes as much to American lit as it does Argentinian lit .I was reminded of the later Pynchon book like  inherent vice  involves figures like this at the edge of life  ,stoners ,chancers  all feature in this book  .I also felt the porn section remind me of films like 8mm, where we open the door on the extremes of human nature ,very hard to read and eye-opening but this world exists and we are shown how vile it can be by this book .It also had a lot of similar tones to other recent Argentinian books I ve read that I would say fit into this Lit crime/thriller genre from Argentina they would be My father ghost climbing in the rain by Patricio Pron a son returns and uncovers his fathers past ,rather like this a man arrives and finds out more than he expected ,then there is also Carlos Gamerro’s books both on this lit crime feel and both follow men discovering more than want .This book is about discovering the underbelly of Argentina post the dictators that have often fuel the lit of the region what happens when they are gone how do some people go on ?

Have you a favourite novel from Argentina ?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MarinaSofia
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 13:07:04

    You are another of those bloggers whose opinions I enjoy reading about and who reads a lot of work in translation… therefore you have a terrible effect on my TBR list!
    I recently read ‘A Crack in the Wall’ by Claudia Pineiro from Argentina, which was a rather noirish view of life in contemporary Buenos Aires.


  2. iamamro
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 18:09:39

    Splendid write-up sir. I fear I don’t have a favourite Argentinian novel, but I’ll be starting with your suggestions. Thank you sir.


  3. Richard
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 03:33:47

    Hadn’t heard of this author before, but I agree that the Argentineans excel at the “lit thriller/crime novel” as you have put it. Too many favorite novels from Argentina to list just one, but recent ones that I’ve tremendously enjoyed have included Juan José Saer’s 1974 El limonero real (not yet translated), Ricardo Piglia’s 2013 El camino de Ida (not yet translated either but another lit crime thriller of sorts), and Adolfo Bioy Casares’ 1954 The Dream of Heroes. Anyway, thanks for bringing this author to my attention, Stu. P.S. Would you mind if I included this post in my Argentinean Literature of Doom link round-up at the end of the month?


  4. Col
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 09:26:49

    I have to confess I’ve never read a book by an Argentinian author ( and if I have I didn’t know it at the time!). And so I’ve never heard before of the authors you read and that the others mention in their comments – but now that I have I like the sound of this lit so will check it out ( I will start with one of those mentioned above unless you have other advice on where to start!). And I love the idea of an Argentinian Literature of Doom round-up – just knowing that there is one is going to be my trivia ‘did you know…..’ comment for my family all weekend!!!!


  5. Max Cairnduff
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 16:08:39

    Frisch really are among the good guys in publishing aren’t they? I have a copy of this, and you’ve definitely bumped it up my TBR pile, as well as the Claudia Pineiro I have still unread.

    Lit crime is interesting territory. The term reminds me of the Laidlaw books by William McIlvanney, one of the great Scottish writers.


    • winstonsdad
      Jan 07, 2014 @ 17:42:26

      Yes strange canongate. Recently sent me a book by him .As for Frisch yes a clever approach to publishing in translation they struck deals with the publishing houses and getting so many books from them a year to translate


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December 2013


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