Monday, January 19, 2009

Two novels by Bryce Echenique

The last two books I have read have been two good novels by the Peruvian writer Alfredo Bryce Echenique. These novels are: "La Vida Exagerada de Martín Romaña" and "El Hombre que hablaba de Octavia de Cádiz".

One book is the continuation of the other one and together, they narrate the story of Martín Romaña, a Peruvian wannabe writer in Paris around 1958. Both books are about love, but also frustration and personal relationships. The situations Martín lives are is he says exaggerated, which makes the story comical at many points. However comical it is, there is a background sadness or melancholy that covers everything. No matter how hard he tries, he can't do anything to improve his situation. And when it looks like nothing can go worse, the situation worsens...

The writer's style is also quite interesting. He writes in quite a messy way, you could ever say he writes whatever he thinks! And he plays with the language quite a lot. So, you have to read the original version in Spanish to catch everything. And it is quite hard if Spanish is not your native language or you are not fluent... but anyway, you can always try! Apart from the special way of writing, the author usually uses flashbacks and flash-forwards which make the novel even messier. He tells you about things that will happen and continuously references what happened in the past.

Overall, these books give you some material to think about and are a nice read.

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