The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal review – nuanced tale of a midlife crisis

1 year ago 147

A communicative astir middle-aged antheral angst whitethorn not beryllium particularly original, but Pedro Mairal’s bittersweet meditation connected love, intersexual tendency and ageing skewers the absurdity and the pain. His narrator is Lucas, a 44-year-old Argentinian writer, successful indebtedness and uninspired. He plays house-husband to his palmy wife, Catalina, whom helium suspectsof having an affair.

The reply to each his troubles, Lucas believes, is the $15,000 beforehand from his Spanish publisher, which helium plans to currency successful a slope connected a time travel to the Uruguayan superior Montevideo, and speech for pesos connected the achromatic marketplace backmost successful Buenos Aires. Also successful Montevideo connected the time Lucas visits is Guerra, the seductive young pistillate helium met astatine a literate festival. He arranges an day tryst and behaves similar a besotted teenager.

Mairal is alert to the nuances of a midlife situation – the nonaccomplishment of dignity, the abandonment of crushed – and his descriptions of Lucas getting drunk, stoned and tattooed, portion fixated connected bedding Guerra, are pitch-perfect. Lucas admits his infatuation with Guerra was casual to prolong due to the fact that helium controlled the fantasy: “All those months I had you successful my caput and could rewind you, fast-forward you, intermission you. I’d unfastened and adjacent the emails you’d nonstop me.” Later, connected the brink of having his tendency fulfilled, helium describes the thrill of escaping himself: “she ran her manus implicit the backmost of my neck, and it sent an electrical complaint each the mode down my back. She reset me. I forgot everything, my name.”

As we are often reminded, Mairal’s promiscuous protagonist is simply a writer (the communicative is confessional) and his thoughts ne'er cease – helium eavesdrops connected others, questions his motives, ponders banalities. In a flash of self-awareness, Lucas observes: “I wanted to live. To see, to touch. To get wrong reality. Get wrong Guerra. Get into a warfare with my fucking imagination, my eternal invisible world.”

By the extremity of this psychologically astute novella, translated sensitively by Jennifer Croft, Lucas recognises however rapidly cracks successful a narration go chasms and that the cardinal to happiness is acceptance.