cover image The Storm

The Storm

Tomás González, trans. from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg. Archipelago (PRH, dist.), $16 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-939810-02-1

An aura of tragedy hangs over the events of González’s tautly told tale of family dysfunction. The principal characters are twin brothers, practical Mario and bookish Javier, and their crusty father, whom they refer to as “the old bastard.” They own and manage a cluster of seaside bungalows in Colombia known as the Hotel Playamar, and the story is their experiences in a single day on the sea, when they go fishing for the hotel’s kitchen with a violent thunderstorm encroaching. The panoramic narrative bounces back and forth between the thoughts of the sons and their father, bound to one another in their mutual loathing, while back home the deranged family matriarch, Doña Nora, engages in conversation with the chorus of voices of a possibly imagined throng whose warnings appear to foretell the fate of her family. González (In the Beginning Was the Sea) invokes both Hemingway and Faulkner in his treatment of tortured family dynamics and laces the three-way banter in the boat with a fascinating, near-toxic atmosphere of machismo. The novel’s unexpected ending lays bare the truth that, even after the worst has been entertained, life goes on, leaving a resonant final note for this memorable story.[em] (Nov.) [/em]