cover image Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers

Marcelo Birmajer, , trans from the Spanish by Sharon Wood. . Toby, $24.95 (211pp) ISBN 978-1-59264-193-2

Argentine Birmajer presents a complicated tale of political intrigue revolving around Javier Mossen, a 32-year-old Jewish Argentine journalist obsessed with sex, the one who got away and looking out for number one. Mossen is reluctantly writing a Sunday feature on Elias Traum, a Jew and former Argentine revolutionary now residing in Israel and recently returned for a visit. When he goes to meet Traum at the airport, Mossen is assaulted and Traum kidnapped. Traum is later dumped naked but alive on the side of the road, and a terrified Mossen is so relieved his subject survived that he finds himself being drawn in by the activist's tales of political intrigue and heroism. When he realizes he's being followed, and his editor suddenly warns him away from Traum, Mossen becomes fearful, and then suspicious. Though the focus is political—so much so, readers may become confused—Argentine sexual attitudes also form an important thread, allowing Birmajer to indulge in some macho, misogynistic characterization and more than a little casual denigration of gays. Still, Birmajer skillfully explores the importance of Judaism in contemporary Argentina through an unlikely friendship and a crackerjack conspiracy plot. (Oct.)