Punti delivers a richly told literary novel about four half brothers in search of their father.
The men are Christopher, Christophe, Christof and Cristòfol, each born in a different European country. They haven’t seen their father, Gabriel Delacruz, since early childhood and only recently have learned of the existence of the others. Gabriel and his best friend, Bundò, once had been long-haul movers operating out of Franco’s Spain, and their route covered much of Europe. When loading a family’s boxes into their truck, Gabriel and Bundò used to select one box to steal without knowing its contents in advance. They didn’t always find much of value, but they enjoyed the game. Gabriel was also a card player who made a living by cheating later in life. Once the four Christophers finally meet and get acquainted, they decide to locate Gabriel, whom no one has seen for over a year. Is he still alive? Why has he disappeared? Should they be angry at him? Why did he give all the boys the same name? They swap stories about their father based on what they’ve heard or what they remember. Considering how long he’s been out of their lives, they seem to know quite a lot. Each Christopher gets to tell the others his story in great detail, and their individual voices are not readily distinguishable from one another—physicist and shop owner speak with the same eloquence. On the other hand, everyone is likable, including the larcenous Gabriel and the thieving Rita, who accounts for lots of “lost” luggage. The characters’ wit and the author’s vivid imagination shine through in this beautiful translation from Catalan, although the story seems longer than necessary. The pace is leisurely as Punti revels in the details and the joy of telling the tale.
For readers less interested in action than in exploring humanity, this novel is worth reading.