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Now and again a surprising little gem comes along. This summer it has to be All Yours by Claudia Piñeiro (translated by Miranda France) published by Bitter Lemon Press. A novella rather than a full length novel, All Yours certainly packs a punch with its tale of infidelity leading to murder.
Kicking off with narration from Inés, the wife, this is compulsive reading. She takes you straight into the heart of the problem and her identification of the symptoms in her marriage (in the bedroom). Her tone intrigues. Could she be highly perceptive and a little sarcastic in her recollections? Or is she so obsessed with the values drummed into her by her mother that she is deluded? We know the symptoms but can we have confidence in the accuracy of her diagnosis and treatment selection?
When Inés follows her husband Ernesto she sees an unfortunate accident and a death. She decides that to protect her marriage and her family life she must don the armour plating of strategic support and take control and direct the situation. In doing so, Inés sets off a row of falling dominoes where nothing is really as she imagines and no one responds as she expects. The result is pure tragedy.
Piñeiro’s style marries the unreliable narration of Inés with telephone conversations of her daughter Lali to other parties, and with after the fact reports from an investigation. All work well together to build to a curdling denouement. Piñeiro gives us characters who will remain in the mind long after reading: Inés, Lali, Ernesto, and Inés’s mother who never appears in a scene but is only mentioned.
Sometimes the package may be smaller but the contents deliver very strong liquor. All Yours is all that in book form.