alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals



 
 V.23 No.27 | July 3 - 9, 2014 

Book Review

Friendship, Death and Sports

Papers in the Wind

Eduardo Sacheri, trans. Mara Fay Lethem
Other Press
paperback
fiction
$17.95

Alejandro Raguzzi—nicknamed Mono—dies in the first chapter of Papers in the Wind. He dies so quickly that he's only shown in flashbacks. In the aftermath of Mono's death, his group of friends—suddenly a trio—is left to carry on despite their incredible differences.

Eduardo Sacheri uses the course of Papers in the Wind to build three-dimensional characters who seem, at first, to be thinly veiled stereotypes. Mauricio is a lawyer, ruthless in his ambition to build a better life. Ruso is the fool, failing in one business endeavor after another, always distracted by video games and movies. Fernando is Mono's brother, now living in the shadow of his dead sibling even more than when Mono was alive. Tying these three friends together are Mono's daughter, Guadalupe, her mother, Lourdes, and a soccer player, Mario Pittilanga, whose transfer Mono purchased before his untimely death. When Mono bought the transfer, Pittilanga seemed like a kid on the way up—a surefire investment. And Mono’s daughter could really use the money.

Eduardo Sacheri
Courtesy of Other Press
Eduardo Sacheri

The problem? Pittilanga is no longer a sure thing. Sacheri possesses a deft authorial touch, using soccer to explore the changes we all go through in life. As Ruse convinces Pittilanga to switch positions to better his chances of making it to the next level, Fernando devotes himself to taping Pittilanga's matches. Meanwhile, Mauricio sits out almost the entire affair, dividing the previous quartet from a trio to a duo. The strain of losing their friend while trying to salvage his business——while running their own lives—proves enormous.

The novel switches from advancing the story of the group's work promoting Pittilanga to flashbacks showing how the now-broken quartet dealt with Mono's illness. The metaphors are abundant when it comes to the young men's love for their childhood team Independiente. The team won abundantly when the friends were young but has now fallen from its previous glory. Especially poignant is Mono, dying, wondering with his friends if he inadvertently cursed his beloved team by asking for too much, in a manner typical of diehard sports fans.

The ending, almost too tidy, presents a realistic picture of a young man who knows he's dying, reconciling his feelings about life and death, God and the things he's leaving behind. Mauricio, Ruso and Fernando, left reeling by Mono's absence, briefly fall apart—both individually and as a group—before seizing upon the opportunity Mono left for them. Their quartet, once shattered to a couple, is completely healed, if in a trite fashion, at the end of the novel. The ending, though formulaic, is still enjoyable. Papers in the Wind is a breezy summer read and a nice complement to World Cup viewing.

 

Today's Events

Comedy Open Mic at Back Alley Draft House

Back Alley Draft House

See some live comedy at this open mic hosted by Drew Wayne.

The Katsina Carvings of Hopi Pueblo at Adobe Gallery

Pecos Annie's Architecture & Design Photography Show at Aux Dog Theatre

More Recommented Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
LowLife Happy Hour
LowLife Happy Hour12.26.2014