Open Door

Open Door

by Iosi Havilio

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"An ambiguous tale that verges on dark comedy. . . . With skill and subtlety, the novel hints that a whole society might labor under an illusion of liberty."—The Economist

When her partner disappears, a young woman drifts towards Open Door, a small town in the Argentinean Pampas named after its psychiatric hospital. She finds herself living with an

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"An ambiguous tale that verges on dark comedy. . . . With skill and subtlety, the novel hints that a whole society might labor under an illusion of liberty."—The Economist

When her partner disappears, a young woman drifts towards Open Door, a small town in the Argentinean Pampas named after its psychiatric hospital. She finds herself living with an aging ranch-hand, although a local girl also proves irresistible . . .

Iosi Havilio bursts onto the Argentine literary scene after Open Door was highly praised by some of the country's most influential critics and writer, including Beatriz Sarlo and Rodolfo Fogwill.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Argentine author Havilio impresses with this flawed but fascinating first novel. The unnamed narrator, a young veterinary assistant based in Buenos Aires, arrives in the eponymous town for a routine to checkup on a horse and quickly finds herself laying down roots, enjoying drugs, and engaging in erotic encounters with locals of all sexes and ages. When one of her lovers disappears, she is targeted as a suspect and seeks lodging at the horse owner's ranch. When she is targeted as the suspect in the disappearance of her lover back in Buenos Aires, the narrator seeks refuge at the horse owner's ranch and slowly begins to discover secrets surrounding the town's origin and people. The descriptions of village and its surrounding country are rich with the type of detail that alone is not particularly remarkable, but when taken together create a palpable sense that something is off, making the revelations much more rewarding when they happen. Though dragged down by long stretches in the second half in which little occurs, this surreal novel is both dense enough and short enough to warrant re-readings and will especially appeal to fans of the TV series Twin Peaks. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Look out in the autumn for Open Door by the much-praised Iosi Havilio, one of the launch titles on the And Other Stories list." Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

"Iosi Havilio’s remarkable first novel brings news of an intriguing world" Martin Schifino, The Independent

"With minimalist beauty and exquisite strangeness, Iosi Havilio offers a mesmerising addition to the literature of solitude." Chloe Aridjis

"An ambiguous tale that verges on dark comedy … With skill and subtlety, the novel hints that a whole society might labour under an illusion of liberty." The Economist

"Deliberately unshowy, so that plot twists can unfold in the quietest ways." Fatema Ahmed, Prospect

"There is a lot of sex and violence in Open Door, but it is never gratuitous. … You have in your hands a masterpiece." Oscar Guardiola-Rivera

"A moving and highly original novel. A good translation is one that convinces as a work in its own right. That is what we get here." Margaret Jull Costa, In Other Words (Journal of the British Centre for Literary Translation)

"Havilio handles the narrator’s listlessness with remarkable dexterity and maintains the reader’s attention throughout … a novel which will flourish under many re-readings." Annabella Massey, Cadaverine

"Open Door really surprised me, it doesn’t obey any of the laws of reading, it feels like it sprang out of nowhere." Beatriz Sarlo, Perfil

"Open Door is not a choral novel but a series of solitary songs sung in intimate keys. It contains a tale to mull over, a story not easy to forget." El País

"Living, some say, is much easier than thinking about life. This seems to be the almost unconscious guiding force that drives the heroine of Open Door, Iosi Havilio’s first book; a sober, restrained novel through which his mature craft shines." Susana Rosana, Clarín

"His opera prima touches nerves in the literature and history of his country, themes such as absence, identity and the conflict between city and country; but the style is unusual, a virtuoso display of muted prose. [...] Havilio may well be an attentive reader of Camus: a barely lyrical phrase such as ‘‘I flop onto my back in the grass and the sky renders me speechless’’ recalls The Outsider. [...] The internal variety, the technical command, the originality of the setting and the freshness of the voice are all worthy of mention." Martin Schifino. Revista del Libro

"Open Door is a confusing, bewildering, riveting book; a paen, of sorts, to both the pursuit of solitude and the futility of that pursuit." Eleutherophobia

"It's not a difficult read, the translation is excellent and the language is used simply, to create a visual landscape which shifts under your feet, which you can't trust and need to consider carefully in different ways … For such a simple book, it holds some serious profundity". Gareth Buchaillard-Davies, metaliterature

Product Details

And Other Stories Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Iosi Havilio (b. 1974 Buenos Aires) Open Door is his first novel. His second novel is Estocolmo (Stockholm, 2010), and he is currently working on a novel – Paradises - that follows on from Open Door. Paradises will be published by And Other Stories later in 2013. He has become a cult author in Argentina after Open Door was highly praised by the outspoken and influential writer Rodolfo Fogwill and by the most influential Argentine critic, Beatriz Sarlo.

Beth Fowler: (b. 1980 Inverness) currently lives in Aberdeen. She has spent time in Chile as an English teacher and is now a full-time translator from Spanish and Portuguese into English. In 2010 she won the inaugural Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize and in 2011 translated Havilio’s Open Door for And Other Stories, receiving high praise for her translation from the doyenne of Spanish translators Margaret Jull Costa. More recent work includes a translation for Granta magazine’s Best of Young Brazilian Novelists issue.

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is the writer of the award-winning What If Latin America Ruled the World? (Bloomsbury, 2010), chosen as one the best non-fiction books that year by The Financial Times and reviewed in The Washington Post, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 Start the Week, with Andrew Marr, Al-Jazeera’s The Riz Khan Show, Folha de Sao Paulo, and other major newspapers and media around the world. He has published in Granta, is a weekly columnist of El Espectador (COL), and a frequent contributor to the BBC World Service Nightwaves, The Stream, Monocle Radio 24, NTN 24, and Al-Jazeera, among others. He has been invited to take part in the Hay Festivals (Wales, Colombia, Lebanon and Mexico), and contributed as a curator and a speaker with the Serpentine Gallery, Southbank Centre, Intelligence Squared, Tate Modern, Pen International, and Colombiage.

Born in Colombia, he was educated in that country and in Great Britain. He graduated as a lawyer in Bogotá (Universidad Javeriana, 1993) after leading the Student Movement that initiated the 1990's wave of constitutional reform throughout Latin America, and obtained his LLM with Distinction at University College London, and his PhD in Philosophy at the King’s College of the University of Aberdeen.

He is on the editorial boards of Naked Punch: An Engaged Review of Arts & Theory; International Law. Colombian Journal of International Law; Universitas. Xavier University Law Review, (COL); and Open Law Journal and is on the advisory board of the Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal, and is recognised as one of the most representative voices of contemporary Latin American philosophy and literature.

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