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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Abril rojo - Santiago Roncagliolo After complaining about the dead metaphor (and dull generic familiarity) of serial killers elsewhere, let me say upfront: Roncaglio exploits the conventions and the premise to some unexpected effect. While his hapless, almost Chance-the-Gardeneresque prosecutor protagonist struggles to fill out the paperwork involved, the appearance of ritually burned/mutilated bodies gets him in dutch with the pervasively corrupt military higher-ups. There's some lovely stuff early on with the obsessive Chacaltana, whose blindered preoccupations with rules (and 'round women) help the author tease out a nightmarish vision of the Fujimori/Sendero-Luminoso era Peru.

But I found myself losing focus as I veered between the dreamlike intensity of its sociopolitical horrors and the (in this case too-)generic demands of a crime-thriller plot, and the graft didn't take, for this reader. Still, an ambitious undertaking, with a bleak black sense of humor.