Aug 9, 2007

Luis Sepulveda / "Diario de un killer sentimental"

With the exception of Pablo Neruda’s poetry, I didn’t really see Chile on the world map of literature until recently, when I got a book called Diario de un killer sentimental by Luis Sepulveda. Though some literature aficionados tend to look down on the genre he is practicing – detective stories – to me his writing is absolutely seamless. In fact, lately I’m more and more convinced that this is really a genre which has a lot more in stock than first meets the eye. That is in part also due to some of Paul Auster’s work, but I will come back to this in one the following days.

With a life that makes up a great novel in itself, the Chilean novelist Luis Sepulveda has such a perfectly sharp and clear storytelling technique that it was impossible for me to leave the book out of my hand until the last line of the story. And the truth is this didn’t take so long in the case of Diario de un killer sentimental – a short detective story that follows a professional killer during his last mission before retirement. And even though I did somehow predict the ending in my mind – probably because my reading expectations were somewhat shaped in time by experiencing similar stories in films, where the narrative formula tends to be pretty repetitive – I absolutely enjoyed every page of Sepulveda’s story, his vividly cinematic descriptions and his razor-sharp authorial voice, flawlessly shaping a story in which not a single word is superfluous.

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