cover image Home Reading Service

Home Reading Service

Fabio Morábito, trans. from the Spanish by Curtis Bauer. Other Press, $14.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63542-072-2

Morábito makes his English-language debut with a satisfying fable, at once satiric and soulful, of a literary awakening in Mexico. The middle-aged narrator, Eduardo, lives in Cuernavaca, a “city that had no soul, only swimming pools,” and runs his family’s furniture store, which is being extorted by an organized crime ring. As part of his community service requirement stemming from his role in a car accident, Eduardo agrees to be a “home reader” of literature for people in need. His performances are met with apathy, antipathy, or, in the case of a paralyzed woman with whom he falls in love, enchantment. Eduardo’s sonorous voice earns him a reputation as something of an artist, and after he reads to his clients a sensual poem by a Mexican poet that his cancer-stricken father had copied out by hand, the work starts a poetry craze in the “uncultured” city and reveals a mysterious romance from his father’s past. Morábito sweeps the plot along with both melodramatic and noirish elements—rogue criminals, adulterous affairs, doomed romances—all converging in a “tragic soiree” at a bookstore. Unlike some author readings, this idiosyncratic performance will keep its audience rapt. (Nov.)