Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Glaxo

Finished September 13
Glaxo by Hernán Ronsino, translated by Samuel Rutter

Ronsino is said to be one of the best modern writers in Argentina. Here, Glaxo is the name of the small town where the actions of this short novel take place. There are four parts, each told from a different point of view and at a different time, but all related to the same events and how they affected people's lives. 
The first part is told by Vardemann in October 1973. Vardemann has home from prison, and is working in his father's barbershop. He knows that he wasn't guilty of the crime he went to jail for, but he doesn't know what really happened. He sees his childhood friend Miguelito, ill and with little hope of recovery, and he watches as workers come and remove the train tracks that served the town. 
The next part is told by Bicho Souza in December 1984. As a young man, Bicho was a friend of Vardemann along with a couple of other guys that all hung out together. The showing of an old movie from that time has brought back memories for him, when Vardemann used to pretend to be Kirk Douglas and Miguelito pretended to be John Wayne and they would have a shoot-out in the street after the movie was over. Another friend that he meets for lunch has recently seen a woman from their past, the wife of an older man, but whom they all lusted after. She talked to him and told him her reasons for leaving town so many years ago. 
The third part is told by Miguelito Barrios in July 1966, when he sees Vardemann return from prison. He thinks back a few years to when he often rode horses with an older man, Folcada. Miguelito's father was a horseman and he was killed accidentally when breaking a horse. Miguelito worked for the railway, unloading the cargo and delivering the parcels that came off the train. He thinks of his interactions with Folcada and how first Folcada's wife and then himself left and never came back. 
The fourth part is told by Folcado in December 1959, about his relationship with his wife, his suspicions, and the actions that he took based on them. 
As we see the stories all come together at the end, we see what a fantastic writer Ronsino is. A brilliant novel.

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