Hi, This Is Conchita: And Other Stories

Overview


Independent Foreign Fiction Prize–winner and Granta “Best Young Spanish- Language Novelist” Santiago Roncagliolo returns with his acclaimed translator Edith Grossman with a raucous phone sex novella and three dark, entrancing stories.

Told entirely in dialog, "Hi, This Is Conchita" is a virtuosic comic novella about men pushed past their breaking point—and the women who drive them crazy. Peru’s heir to the incisive social literature of Mario Vargas Llosa weaves a complex tale ...

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Overview


Independent Foreign Fiction Prize–winner and Granta “Best Young Spanish- Language Novelist” Santiago Roncagliolo returns with his acclaimed translator Edith Grossman with a raucous phone sex novella and three dark, entrancing stories.

Told entirely in dialog, "Hi, This Is Conchita" is a virtuosic comic novella about men pushed past their breaking point—and the women who drive them crazy. Peru’s heir to the incisive social literature of Mario Vargas Llosa weaves a complex tale of an office worker hiring a hitman to kill his mistress, a man leaving feverish messages on his beloved’s answering machine, and a phone sex worker whose client is literally crazy about her.

The three stories that follow reveal Roncagliolo’s masterful range. “Despoiler” is the claustrophobic tale of a Carnival in Barcelona that brings one middle-aged woman face-to-face to her childhood demons. “Butterflies Fastened with Pins” is the perversely comic account of a man whose friends keep killing themselves. And “The Passenger Beside You” is a surreal story narrated by a woman with a gaping bullet wound right through her heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Peruvian author Roncagliolo’s collection contains a dialogue-only novella and three short stories, none of which are especially winning. In “Despoiler,” Carmen is a single woman on the verge of turning 40 and is resigned to her solitary life. When she meets a man while out celebrating her birthday with her co-workers, she’s confronted with new emotions. “Butterflies Fastened with Pins” finds a man “getting used to” his friends taking their own lives. Death, and its impact on the passengers of a bus, is also the theme of the very short “The Passenger Beside You.” “Conchita” is both more accomplished but also more frustrating than the stories. It is made up entirely of phone conversations between Reginaldo Godínez and various people, including Conchita, a phone-sex operator with a sadomasochistic streak. Godínez also speaks repeatedly to a customer service center and to Esmerelda, a woman with whom he was once romantically involved. There’s a lot to like—and laugh at—here, especially riffs on the awfulness of Meg Ryan movies, but the humor is surrounded by so much verbiage that bright moments are few and far between. (Apr. 16)
From the Publisher

Praise for Hi, This Is Conchita:

“Santiago Roncagliolo is one of the writers of my generation I most admire. He is rigorous, fearless, and funny, with a keen eye for absurdity embedded within the everyday. A new book by Roncagliolo is a cause for celebration.” — Daniel Alarcón

“There’s a lot to like—and laugh at—here, especially riffs on the awfulness of Meg Ryan movies.” — Publishers Weekly

"Ultimately, Hi, This Is Conchita resolves its proceedings in a way both satisfying and unpredictable, all the while keeping the reader engaged. . . . Readers curious about contemporary European lit, or who have a penchant for formal experimentation, or who are just looking to read something a bit different, may well find themselves taken by Roncagliolo’s playful nonconformity." — PopMatters

"In an age where the isolating effects of social media are continuously analyzed, the short story collection Hi, This is Conchita by Peruvian writer Santiago Roncagliolo offers an encompassing view of the ways we become detached from intimacy and the painful, misguided ways in which we attempt to retrieve it. . . . The collection . . . highlights Roncagliolo’s literary virtuosity." — Tottenville Review

"Roncagliolo quite cleverly and nicely spins a tale of crossed lives (and one or two crossed lines) out of these dialogues. The connections that turn out to be there all the time make the failure of communication all the more damning. . . . Roncagliolo has a nice, sure touch throughout . . . a nice little collection, with some sly dark humor, and makes for an entertaining read." — The Complete Review

"Roncagliolo is an incredibly gifted storyteller who is able to execute many writing styles. . . . Roncagliolo reminds us that, although we are isolated by default, we are all connected to each other in some way." — Three Percent

"Hi, This Is Conchita and other stories is a funny book from an up and coming star of Latin American fiction. A reader would do well to spend a little time with this short volume of freely rendered conversations." — By The Firelight

Praise for Red April:
“Within the frame of a puzzling whodunit, Roncagliolo crafts an unsparing view of life controlled by a repressive and paranoid government.”
Publishers Weekly

“The second half of this novel is a tour de force. Suspense builds excruciatingly against the great festive crescendo that is Ayacucho's Holy Week, with its heady mix of iconography and emotion. . . . This novel teaches us to look askance at its every expression of identity, from the most atavistic to the most modern and progressive.”
Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931883221
  • Publisher: Two Lines Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,457,639
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Santiago Roncagliolo is a Peruvian novelist and investigative journalist. His first novel, Red April, won the Premio Alfaguara in 2006 and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2011. In 2010 Granta named him one of its 22 Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists. He contributes to El País and other leading Spanish-language newspapers. Santiago Roncagliolo lives in Barcelona.

Edith Grossman is one of the English-language’s most renowned translators, having translated key works by Nobel laureates Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. Her translation of Don Quixote was praised by Harold Bloom for “the extraordinarily high quality of her prose.” Grossman lives in New York City.

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