Argentine author Marcelo Birmajer uses his recurring character, Javier Mosan, to present a complicated political tale with roots in his country’s troubled past. Mosan, a journalist who does his best to avoid writing stories, spends a great deal of time indulging in sexual fantasy. When his editor asks him to interview Elias Traúm, an Argentinean who now lives in Israel, he thinks that it is just another routine assignment. Traúm and two dead friends were known as the “three musketeers” when they fought in the left-wing Peronist guerrilla group, the Montoneros. Javier goes to the airport to meet Traúm and ends up getting a severe beating. Traúm is kidnapped. He is later dumped by the side of the road and, Javier, relieved to learn that they both survived, finds himself drawn to the account of Traúm’s past despite orders from his editor to drop the story. Readers who enjoyed Nathan Englander’s The Ministry of Special Cases will find this compelling, too. It provides insight into the world of Argentina’s Jewish community as well as a top-notch conspiracy plot.
Barbara M. Bibel is a librarian at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, CA; and at Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA.