Shantytown

Cesar Aira, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews. New Directions, $13.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1911-2
This disappointing potboiler by the acclaimed author of The Hare and Varamo introduces Maxi, a muscular and dimwitted young man who spends his nights in a Buenos Aires shantytown helping trash pickers carry away their finds. Pitted against him is Deputy Inspector Cabezas, a cop looking for a way to crack open a drug ring, and who may or may not be the father of Cynthia, a young woman recently murdered. When Cabezas's attention is drawn toward Maxi, he uses Maxi's sister, Vanessa, and her friend, Jessica, to track Maxi down in an attempt to discover who is bringing the drugs into the nighborhood. In concise chapters, Aira takes us through each character's point of view, giving the reader a glimpse into their psyches, but slow pacing, random side plots, and a lack of resolution make it difficult to care. There are flashes of wonderful writing here, as when a torrential rainstorm gives Aira the chance to describe the shantytown and its lights poetically, and a murder that will take the reader by surprise, but neither is enough to compensate for the sluggish trek toward the end. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.