- The first in a series of novels by Olguín starring the journalist Veronica Rosenthal. It is set in Buenos-Aires and has been made into a TV series currently showing in Argentina.
- Veronica is a successful young journalist, beautiful, unmarried, with a healthy appetite for bourbon and men. She is a fascinating and complicated heroine, driven by a sense of justice but also by lust and ambition.
- Sensual and terse, the novel is also fiercely critical of a system that tolerates the powerful and wealthy of Buenos Aires putting the lives of young boys at risk for their entertainment.
When she hears about the suicide of a local train driver who has jumped off the roof of a block of flats, leaving a suicide note confessing to four mortal ‘accidents’ on the train tracks, she decides to investigate. For the police the case is closed (suicide is suicide), for Veronica it is the beginning of a journey that takes her into an unfamiliar world of grinding poverty, junkie infested neighborhoods, and train drivers on commuter lines haunted by the memory of bodies hit at speed by their locomotives in the middle of the night.
Aided by a train driver informant, a junkie in rehab and two street kids willing to risk everything for a can of Coke, she uncovers a group of men involved in betting on working-class youngsters convinced to play Russian roulette by standing in front of fast-coming trains to see who endures the longest.
With bodies of children crushed under tons of steel, those of adults yielding to relentless desire, the resolution of the investigation reveals the deep bonds which unite desire and death.
Veronica is a journalist for a popular magazine, she’s talented and has an eye for a story. When she hears of a child’s death on the railway and the train driver is traumatised, she feels this could be interesting from a human emotion side, but she soon finds there is so much more to the story….
Poor young boys, are drawn to a local football team, the coach Rivero offers them a chance to make some money, a game he says. This evil man sets two boys a game of chicken, against a train, the last one to jump off the tracks is the winner!! Oh and men gamble on this……
The train drivers on the routes, are on tenterhooks their whole shift, just waiting to see someone on the tracks and to hear the crunch of bone……
Veronica finds out about this and is determined to make it end, but puts herself and anyone close to her in real danger…….can she stop this barbarity??
I really love the way this is written, Veronica is a strong, single woman who pees, has periods and enjoys sex her way….not often you read of the real parts of life in this way..
Set in Buenos Aires, It also shows the dark side of life, the exploitation of those in poverty, the young and desperate….a fascinating and utterly engaging read. I’ve been very lucky to read some excellent novels recently but this is one of the best I’ve read this year….
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book and this is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here
The Author and the Translator
Sergio Olguín was born in Buenos Aires in 1967 and was a journalist before turning to fiction. Olguín has won a number of awards, among others the Premio Tusquets 2009 for his novel Oscura monótona sangre (“Dark Monotonous Blood“) His books have been translated into German, French and Italian. The Fragility of Bodies is his first novel to be translated into English.
The translator Miranda France is the author of two acclaimed volumes of travel writing: Don Quixote’s Delusions and Bad Times in Buenos Aires. She has also written the novels Hill Farm and The Day Before the Fire and translated much Latin American fiction, including Claudia Piñeiro’s novels for Bitter Lemon Press.
Published by BITTER LEMON PRESS•