LADY OF THE SOUTH WIND by Javier Garcia Snchez


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Once over the hump that this is a Spanish novel in English translation about German characters living in Germany, the reader is gripped by this re-creation of an unrequited obsessional love that refuses to pander to prurience or voyeurism. Removing many of the props of the conventional novel, Garcia Snchez constructs his upon a near 200-page monologue by Hans Kruger, an employee of an explosives manufacturer, who tells it to his friend and co-worker Andreas Dorpfeld. Kruger has had himself committed to a sanitarium after he has assaulted for no apparent reason an aged worker with the unfortunate name of Handke. When Dorpfeld comes to visit, Kruger launches into what might become one of the great tours de force on the theme of this, his obsessional romantic love for Olga Dittersdorf, a young fellow worker who hardly reciprocates Kruger's passion. In fact she would be incapable of doing so because it seems simply impossible in this day that such a love could exist, as Dorpfeld remarks after the truly shattering conclusion. Death of course is called for, and for a change the woman does not suffer and is not blamed. Reminiscent of much recent European fiction, in particular Thomas Bernhard's, the novel gains its force through the power of the mesmerizing, possessed voice of Kruger. The voice reports Olga telling him she is having her period, and in turn Kruger believes himself to be bleeding (""Blood on my chin, on my cheekbones, in my eyebrows, blood under my Fingernails, between my teeth, on the tip of my nose. Red stains on every part of my body""). Garcia Snchez's sixth book and first US publication: a novel of obsessional romantic love that both respects and courts the intelligence and feelings of the reader.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1989
Publisher: North Point