cover image The Last Reader

The Last Reader

David Toscana, , trans. from the Spanish by Asa Zatz. . Texas Tech Univ., $26.95 (188pp) ISBN 978-0-89672-664-2

In his third novel translated into English, Mexican writer Toscana (Tula Station ) dissolves the line between interior and exterior life with challenging results. In the small, drought-ridden town of Icamole, young Remigio discovers a dead girl in his well. Before anyone finds out, Remigio’s father, Lucio, a librarian who ties everything back to the novels he’s read, convinces Remigio to bury the girl under their avocado tree and say nothing, even as authorities wander into town, making tepid inquiries. Toscana meanders through the psychological consequences of the plan, moving in and out of the “real” world in paragraphs that run on for pages, penetrating the veil of Lucio’s literary fetishes, brutality and death foremost among them (he tosses books he doesn’t like in a room to be devoured by cockroaches). Letting go of familiar touchstones like plot, character and structure, this dense stream-of-consciousness narrative raises many resonant questions, but can be a chore to navigate. (Oct.)