Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tunnel by Javier Sabato

The author was a physicist belonging to Argentina who became a writer in his later years. Let me first write about the book and later about the author.

            This is a novel in flashback mode.  Juan Pablo Castel, recalls the events that led him to murder Maria Iribarne.  He was a painter.  He notices one women looking at a painting for a longtime.  He misses her that day and tries to find and meet her.  He succeeds in finding her after a long search and after a lot of efforts he meets her.  He falls in love with her and she appears to have fallen in love with him but hesitates to plunge immediately.  But ultimately she expresses her love.  They have good times and bad times, they indulge in love and in fights over small matters. Often they make up when they meet again.  He feels that  her ways are mysterious and tries to find the mystery.  When he finds out that she has a husband, another lover and that he is the third or he wildly guesses that there may be others. When he comes to this conclusion he tells her husband. Her husband is a cuckold, that is he knows his wife’s affairs with other men.   Enraged, he murders Maria iribane.

            While reading the novel, I had been, out of my prejudice or the current political correctness, giving clean chit to Maria till the end when the myth was blasted.  She turned out to be really bad or Is she?  My heart, till the end, refused to believe that she may be bad. But that was the surprise.

            When I searched about the author, I found out that he had been a believer is communism in his younger days and involved in activities of Argentine Communist Party.  But slowly he had developed doubts about communism and came to know about Stalin.  He was sent to study in Lenin Internation School in Moscow.  On the way, he escaped to Paris from Brussels and returned to Argentina with a Doctorate in Physcis and was involved in academics till his middle age.  After that he decided to leave academics for writing.  Tunnel was his first novel.

            Tunnel it appears had been appreciated by Camus, Graham Green etc etc.for its existentialism. 

            I, after briefly reading about his life in politics in his younger years, may interpret this novel as a parady on his love affair with Communism.  He was initially attracted and fell in love with communism and over a period of time he finds about its other side. And finally by murdering Maria, he killed his belief in communism.

            The narrative was very fast moving and emotional.  A very good, small (100 pages) novel. I liked it. 

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