Eight elegantly translated short stories—cryptic, wry and witty.
Mozzi tends to focus on the outré and is masterful at creating individuals in isolation. “Cover Letter,” the first story in the collection, is a love letter of sorts from a professional purse-snatcher to a woman who was a victim of his predations. He lingers over the contents, speculating about her life and loves, and evokes her presence from the artifacts he finds in the purse. By turns apologetic, proud, empathetic and confessional, he quotes to her from two letters he’s found in her purse and speculates about their significance in her life before he sends them back to her. The next story is “The Apprentice,” a long story about an apprentice in a shop who tries to work his way up from messenger boy to skilled laborer, though he’s subject to the vagaries of office politics and nepotism. “Claw” is a story about Yanez, a recluse in a small village who’s visited every day for over 20 years by the only woman who seems to care about his existence. One day, an Englishman, self-described as a “saint,” comes to “save [the villagers’] souls from certain death...if they refused his help,” and his plea is intriguing enough to lure Yanez out of the house he’s scarcely left for years. “Tana,” one of Mozzi’s most cryptic stories, concerns a woman who comes across an angel, complete with wings, and this angel inadvertently (and ironically) helps her overcome her aversion to sexuality.
Although Mozzi’s style is crisp and straightforward, the stories themselves are beautifully nuanced and elliptical.