Monday, 25 July 2011

"Needle in a Haystack" by Ernesto Mallo

This is a detective story set in the closing years of Argentina's military dictatorship, with people going missing on a nightly basis, to turn up murdered and usually tortured a few nights later. There are firm guidelines in place to see that these do not get officially investigated by the police.

I was looking forward to reading this, first because it is set against such a darkly interesting dramatic backdrop, and second because Mallo comes highly recommended (or perhaps just highly publicised). This is the first in a trilogy, and the first two are apparently already being made into films.

Perhaps they will work better in that form. You see, I should divulge that this author is a member of the "punctuation doesn't matter" school. Direct speech is not even broken up by line, but all mish-mased together. It makes for a largely unreadable book, and it seems strange that Arts Council funding apparently contributed to its publication. One can't help thinking that the money would have been better spent on writers who do at least try to obey basic rules of grammar and punctuation.

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