Hypothermia: Stories

Alvaro Enrigue, Author, Brendan Riley, Translator
Alvaro Enrigue, trans. from the Spanish by Brendan Riley. Dalkey Archive, $14.50 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-56478-873-3
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Open Ebook - 114 pages - 978-1-56478-969-3
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Despite the chill promised of the title, this collection of short stories from Mexican writer Enrigue ex-udes a warmth that fluctuates throughout and culminates in a scorching final installment. However, the temperature of the plot and language follows a converse trajectory to the subjects' interiority: the ice is simply below the surface, freezing over the characters' hearts and minds. Enrigue's protagonists coolly observe their fellow man, as well as their own place in society, their careers, and roles they've found themselves in, with a detached sense of superiority and emotional distance. In "Gula, or: The Invoca-tion", a doubtful father reluctantly writes a story which sacrifices his pet cat in order to save his fami-ly; in "Outrage" a mentally unhinged garbage collector goes on a crime spree; and in "The Extinction of Dalmation", we find Tuone Udina, the intellectually- and hearing-challenged last living speaker of the Dalmatian language in a remote corner of Croatia. Udina, the subject of a study by a heartless ar-cheology professor, is also the most unexpected and poignant story in the collection. Throughout, En-rigue imaginatively explores identity, isolation in contemporary society, and the breakdown of com-munication. (May)
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