Author:David Trueba (translated from the Spanish by John Cullen

Publisher:Other Press

ISBN:9781590517857 (ebook):  9781590517840 (softcover)

From a miraculously successful collaboration between author and translator emerges Blitz, a lyrical account of love lost and, in a way, found.

The key events of the narrator’s emotionally tumultuous year are told in unequal calendar chunks. January occupies the bulk of the story. In that month, we learn who the first person/past tense narrator is, what he does, whom he loves, and how he initially reacts to that love’s loss.

The story is told in terms, so rich in insight, imaginative metaphors and similes, and elegant phraseology and sentence structure, as to be breathtaking. But breathtaking is only the effect; the cause is the artists’ ability to breathe life into events that in less able hands would be routine.

After all, what’s so remarkable about a landscape architect being dumped by his girlfriend while the two are attending a competition where the “hero” conclusively loses? What’s so different about how the loser licks his double wounds? The reader of Blitz will be amply rewarded with the answers.

Older readers will delight in the hero’s take on some modern communication techniques: “She knew I hated messages with emoticons and text symbols, irritating substitutes for real emotion.”

Writers will envy the dry and weighty wit inherent in the hero’s explanation of an important turning point in his life: “In life, she declared, you have to get things straight. Maybe it would be a good idea to start getting things straight. First, to get things. And then to get them straight.”

In one case, I think a gay saying arguably improves upon the author’s delightful observation. “…they wish the person beside you would disappear after you’ve been satisfied.” Sexually satisfied gays are more demanding—they wish the spent adjacent one would turn into a pizza.

A big chunk of the book is what romantic novels would call a sex scene. Without a scintilla of coyness, this episode is presented in terms that are both gritty and poetic. Not something easy to do—the failures are legion--but here it’s done to perfection.

For some reason this book relates dialogue without the conventional quotation marks, commas, and paragraphing. This approach is distracting at first, but after a while, it bothered me not at all, so swept away was I with the artistic thrust of the writing.

As structure is key to the architectural work of the narrator, it is no surprise that the book itself is beautifully balanced. Opening passages describe a double bed with separate duvets. At the end, a shared shawl provides the perfect bookend ending for this essentially and intensely romantic story.