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The Past

by Alan Pauls

Rimini ends his long-term relationship with Sofia and takes up cocaine and a new relationship with an intensely jealous young woman. This is a dense and melancholy novel set in Argentina with a long and winding narrative punctuated with cultural references, dark humour, sex and drugs, yet always returning to its true subject of memory. An exhausting read with an enjoyable first half - worth the effort so hang on in there.

Extract

The photo was still there, but instead of one life, it now had two: a useful daytime one on his desk, in amongst books and dictionaries, a life that was renewed whenever he poured the tiny grains of white powder on to its surface; and a sterile, suffocating night-time one that began on the dot of seven in the evening when Vera pressed the intercom buzzer and Rimini, even before letting her in, quickly hid it between the pages of a particularly unreadable book, and then carefully put the book in the remotest corner of his library.
Translated by Nick Caistor

Parallels

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth
 

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