cover image Talking to Ourselves

Talking to Ourselves

Andr%C3%A9s Neuman, trans. from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23 (160p) ISBN 978-0-374-16753-0

Appealing to both intellect and emotion, this splendid novel from Neuman (Traveler of the Century) grapples with important questions and features well-developed, nuanced characters. Mario, a trucker, takes his 10-year-old son, Lito, on a delivery run. Lito, Mario, and Lito's mother, Elena, take turns narrating, giving the story a full range of perspectives. Mario is extremely sick but is hiding this fact from Lito. Dr. Escalante, Mario's doctor, becomes an object of desire for Elena, though she loathes herself for being attracted to him. She also feels guilt over her lack of desire for Mario, whose illness has affected his appearance. Elena deals with her feelings by, among other things, immersing herself in books. Meanwhile, on the road, Mario attempts to give Lito a lasting memory of the trip. The unflinching gazes of Neuman's characters drive this slim novel. Joy, regret, hope... it's all here. Agent: Jacoba Casier, Guillermo Schavelzon & Asociados. (Apr.)