Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThe last novel by the late author of Kiss of the Spider Woman , this book uses dialogue, letters and police transcripts to tell the story of two elderly sisters from Buenos Aires, now living in Brazil. Luci, the younger of the two, has befriended a middle-aged psychologist whose love for a widower has been mostly unrequited. When Luci goes to Lucerne to visit her eldest son, the older sister, Nidia, inadvertently enables the young night watchman of the complex to seduce her 13-year-old companion. Puig develops these two plot lines concurrently, with the sisters providing the narrative link between them. As age and infirmity catch up to the octogenarian protagonists, they become increasingly starved for new revelations of their neighbors' lives. Once again Puig skillfully interweaves his two central concerns, the painful necessity of love and the fascination of narrative. Because he has eschewed a consistent narrative voice here, opting instead for a montage of artifacts and dialogue, the novel lacks a certain depth, but his delineation of the character of the elderly ladies is deft. The result is a poignant, bittersweet tale from one of Latin America's most accomplished writers. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library JournalA pair of elderly sisters living in tropical Brazilian exile from ``stinking old Argentina,'' where winters can be rough, embody Puig's conviction that life moves on waves of desire and regret. It's not that the sisters reminisce so much as gossip, dissecting the appetencies of their neighbors. There is, for example, Silvia the psychologist who between patients goes chasing a widower with grown children, and kindly married Ronaldo who seduces a mere child. As in all of Puig's fiction, nothing much happens--the one sister who survives at the end of the novel steals a blanket from Aerolineas Argentinas and gets away with it, and everyone seems to complain about the cost of long-distance phone calls--but personalities are laid bare in their eagerness to be victimized. Puig's final novel--he died in July 1990--is recommended for general readers.--Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
- Simon & Schuster
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