cover image Eléctrico W

Eléctrico W

Hervé Le Tellier, trans. from the French by Adriana Hunter. Other Press, $14.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-59051-533-4

Romantic and atmospheric, this novel also benefits from a particularly fine sense of place and time. It is 1985 in Lisbon. The narrator, Vincent Balmer, is a French journalist. He is trying to finish a novel when Antonio Flores, a photographer, asks him to help cover the trial of Pinheiro, a serial killer. The two men share a suite in a hotel and interact with a complex group of characters, such as “Duck,” an important woman from Antonio’s past; Irene, a woman known to both men, who once told Vincent that he had “a young man’s body that hadn’t aged well”; Aurora, a young woman who gives what is quite possibly the funniest violin recital ever rendered in literature; and Vincent’s father, among others. Dealing with so many characters sometimes gives the book a cobbled-together feel, but also makes it lively and fleet. An epilogue describes the characters’ futures so neatly and completely that the reader may want to skip it. But skipping anything else in this witty, sad, and interesting novel would be a shame. Agent: Isabelle Laffont, Editions JC Lattès (France). (June)