Thursday, November 10, 2011


Jesse Kellerman

Jove, 2006

The heroine of this debut novel, Gloria Mendez, is a 36-year-old secretary at the firm for the sale of souvenirs. She is Mexican in origin and is in love with her boss Carl Perreira, who is 20 years senior and, although he treats Gloria with great sympathy, does not share her romantic feelings. When Perreira goes to Mexico on vacation, he gives time off for Gloria as well. The book opens with a scene of the earthquake in Los Angeles. While the whole city is in panic, Gloria behaves calmly, can not sleep and goes to work. In the office, she finds a note from the boss and unintelligible message on the answering machine from which Gloria understands that Charles have been in an accident. American and Mexican police react sluggishly to Gloria’s request for help. After a dozen calls Gloria gets through to the police in the town of Agua Vivas, where, presumably, something happened to Perreira. Local police chief named Fajardo says that far from the city really there has been a car accident with the injured American on "Honda" with California plates. News for Gloria's disappointing: Charles is dead. Sudden death and call home rise Gloria’s suspicions. She wants to know whether her boss died, and if so, under what circumstances. Gloria goes to Mexico.

Kellerman confirmed that he is an excellent storyteller, and «Sunstroke» is really well told story. The novel, of course, is too slow and "literary" to be called a thriller, and stylistically too easy to qualify for membership in the "great literature" but this does not in any way interfere with enjoying the book. The book, in spite of the plot, in the first place is character-driven. For every hero the author creates a whole story. Kellerman gradually reveals to us how Gloria has become what she’ve become, and how her old boss became for her the most important person in the world and how she actually knew nothing about him. The hardest truth about herself Gloria realizes at the very ending of the book: she has done this double journey to Mexico, the digging into the past of Charles not because she loved Charles and cared for him, but simply out of boredom. She was lonely; she was nobody, and all her care of the deceased was only an attempt to stir herself.

Kellerman, however, sometimes talks too much by introducing third-rate characters with whole stories that do not affect the development of the plot. He inserts the anecdote for anecdote, in order to simply tell an interesting story. It was not that great sin, but sometimes you need to learn to shut up.

That's really great debut. Son surpassed the mother and the father.

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