cover image Breathing Through the Wound

Breathing Through the Wound

Victor Del Arbol, trans. from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman. Other Press, $19.99 trade paper (688p) ISBN 978-1-59051-843-4

Madrid portrait artist Eduardo Quintana, the hero of this twisted tale from Del Arbol (The Sadness of the Samurai), lost part of a leg 14 years earlier after a reckless driver struck the car he was riding in; the collision killed his wife and teenage daughter. Quintana remains deeply affected by his loss. His gallery owner friend, Olga , who’s displaying some of his older work, informs him that Gloria Tager, one of the world’s most prestigious violinists, has sought out Quintana’s work in Olga’s gallery and is looking to hire him to paint a portrait. Quintana reluctantly agrees to meet the musician, only to learn that she, too, lost a child to a reckless driver—and that she wants him to paint a portrait of Arthur Fernandez, a drunk motorist who’s been able to work the system to get out of prison early. The painter’s choice to accept the commission leads to more violence. The reveals provide multiple gut punches that require readers to reevaluate their assumptions about the characters and plot developments. Noir fans will get their money’s worth. (July)