cover image San Juan Noir

San Juan Noir

Edited by Mayra Santos-Febres, trans. from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden. Akas

Santos-Febres and 13 other contributors of Puerto Rican heritage take full advantage of San Juan’s wide range of disparities between rich and poor, weak and powerful, tourists and residents, in this fine addition to Akashic’s noir anthology series. Notable entries include Manolo Núñez Negrón’s “Fish Food,” in which the narrator tells of his unusual friendship with a boy who drifts into a life of drugs and theft after the narrator goes to university and they lose touch. In Ana María Fuster Lavín’s grim “Two Deaths for Ángela,” a young woman becomes utterly lost in a fog between reality and imagination. A boy ends his father’s abuse of his mother in Manuel A. Meléndez’s stark, sly “A Killer Among Us.” Alejandro Álvarez Nieves manages to make “Sweet Feline,” the tale of a bellhop who tries to satisfy a demanding customer, both dark and funny. Some selections are slice-of-life stories rather than tales with neat resolutions. Akashic is publishing a simultaneous Spanish-language edition. (Oct.)