Monday, September 08, 2008

Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers by Marcelo Birmajer
translated from the Spanish by Sharon Wood

Despite his fear of becoming his newspaper's token Jewish affairs correspondent, apathetic reporter Javier Mossen is strong-armed into interviewing expatriate Elias Traúm, who is visiting from Israel for the first time in 20 years. When Traúm is kidnapped from the Buenos Aires airport before Mossen's eyes, the unwanted assignment takes on a whole new meaning. Mossen becomes invested in both ensuring Traúm's safety and the story Traúm has to tell. Darkly comic and unapologetic, the novel subtly explores the political reality of Argentina's past and what it means to be a good Jew. Narrated by the sex-obsessed Mossen, this is the tale of Traúm's short visit to Argentina and the legacy of his role as one of the tres mosqueteiros, a group of precocious young radicals, two of whom joined the Montoneros during the Dirty War. It is also the story of Mossen's struggle to reclaim control of his life.

I was particularly taken by this passage:
"Nobody knows who he is, and as such the best thing is to proceed cautiously through life and not get our hopes up too much. Maybe paradise is simply the place where we will be handed a leaflet telling us clearly who we are, what we wanted and why we couldn't have it" (4).

Read the full review in Library Journal or at Barnes & Noble (click on "editorial reviews").

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