Romero is a well-known Mexican novelist, poet, short story writer, and ambassador. This short novel, popular in Mexico for twenty-five years, is just now being published in English. Pito is a poor drunkard, reeling off the jumbled events of his miserable life to the ""listener"" for the price of a bottle per conversation. He stole coins from the poor box in a church for another boy and was caught; he wanders around, making love here, cheating there, playing ""Christ"" in jail, enduring starvation in a hospital, taking a skeleton for his final paramour. At the end he is found dead on a rubbish heap with a testimony of bitterness in his pocket. Romero's point is obviously to let Pito tell it the way it was, and one sees, of course, the disconnected, often fantastic, fumbling miseries of a man who consciously suffers. But one sees it from a very great distance, often without sympathy. The Futile Life is dubious on paper.