cover image The Divine Boys

The Divine Boys

Laura Restrepo, trans. from the Spanish by Carolina De Robertis. Amazon Crossing, $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0373-5

Set in and around Bogotá, the haunting latest from Restrepo (Leopard in the Sun) chronicles the exploits of a quintet of upper class childhood friends, now in their 30s, known as the Tutti Fruttis. Each member goes by a laundry list of nicknames, and Hobbit, the least successful of the group, narrates as he and pals El Duque, Muñeco, Tarabeo, and Píldora meet up at El Duque’s country house for a week of reveling. But Muñeco, the wild card of the crew, is distant, not his normal self, and soon after the gathering, he kidnaps a little girl from the city slums. Tarabeo takes control of the situation and assigns each Tutti Frutti tasks to help Muñeco escape prosecution, but as Hobbit and the others learn more of Muñeco’s actions, bonds dissolve and the group’s ride-or-die mantra is challenged. Restrepo is at her best in Hobbit’s inner monologues, which erupt and ramble as he processes the true nature of his lifelong friend. Restrepo triumphs in her depiction of toxic masculinity and the clash of social classes, and navigates her characters through a sensational crime without subscribing to stereotypes. This elegy for lost youth and innocence is a powerhouse. (July)