Vive como puedas
Joaquin Berges. Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 2011. 296pp. ISBN: 9788483833278
Monday, April 9, 2012
by: Reviewed by Sara Martinez

Section: Adult Book Reviews

Reviewed by Sara Martinez, Hispanic Resource Center Coordinator, Tulsa City-County Library System

This is a humorous novel in the black comedy mode where the pathos falls flat although there are moments of beauty and some of the characters do strike a chord.  Luis is an engaging protagonist whose midlife crisis angst quickly unravels into chaos.  The novel begins with his diary entries that seek to make sense of life in general and his life specifically; his own quest for Equilicuá!

Although the structure aims at complexity by alternating between the first person diary entries and third person omniscient viewpoint, the plot is self-centered and self-directed by Luis who has very little capacity for empathy.  All the other characters with their own stories and angst are reduced to supporting players in his soap opera.  It is quite jarring when they start dying off.

The theme of working through a midlife crisis by writing a journal is not that different or unusual.  Berges is adept at creating an authentic, if not unique or particularly endearing voice for Luis Ruiz Puy and the man does find self-knowledge and a new lease on life in this black comedy

An optional purchase for public libraries and bookstores

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