A Loser’s Manual

Juan Sasturain

NOVEL NOIR. SUDAMERICANA, 2003. 512 PAGES.

Only Sasturain can tell a story about the dictatorship in a voice that’s not explicit but is nonetheless completely honest. Realism requires hard-headed objectivity, but it can be redeemed by humour. One needs to have the narrative experience and talent of Juan Sasturain and plenty of guts to write these irony-soaked throwaway lines. This is Etchenike, a character with the mature charm of Chandler or Hammett’s anti-heroes, in action. His quips, in the best tradition of inveterate losers, are biting, acidic and often accompanied with a fist to the face. Circumstances get the better of him, as they say. With Sasturain, the action and turmoil never end, but, for us, that’s a good thing. Readers are the undoubted beneficiaries, revelling in the enjoyment and brilliance to be found in these pages. Every one of Etchenique’s scenes and dialogues in A Loser’s Manual is to be treasured because they offer us those rare moments when the reader feels equal to their hero.

PUBLISHED BY: Spanish SUDAMERICANA

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