Black Novel with Argentines

Luisa Valenzuela, Author Simon & Schuster $19.5 (220p) ISBN 978-0-671-68764-9
This highly provocative novel infuses S & M titillation into a slow-moving, psychoanalytical plot about two lovers who are irrevocably changed by a murder that one of them commits. In the opening pages, Agustin, an Argentine writer living in New York City, picks up an actress, accompanies her home, draws a gun from his pocket and kills her. Later, Agustin confesses his crime to his girlfriend, Roberta, also an expatriate writer. Responding with a bizarre mixture of the maternal and predatory, Roberta relishes Agustin's anguished breakdown as she hides the murder weapon, disguises him and herself in theatrical costumes and taunts him by having a love affair with another man. The banal, repetitive experiences of the two writers are punctuated by horrifying dreamlike sequences in which the pair spend time in a shelter for the homeless and are drawn to a sadomasochistic pleasure club that is eerily reminiscent of the torture chambers of Argentina's recent history. Agustin finds peace only after a night-long conversation with a South American doctor who may or may not have been a torturer in the past. Valenzuela's ( Open Door ) expertly paced novel blurs the distinctions between victim and tormenter and between torture indulged in for pleasure and torture for political reasons. The result is powerful, unusual and unsettling. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 220 pages - 978-1-891270-13-0
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