Y Matarazo no llamo.

Author:Mujica, Barbara

Eugenio Yanez leads a boring, solitary life. An office worker in his fifties, Yanez lives alone in an apartment in Mexico City. He was married for four years to a woman he hasn't seen in twenty - so long that he can no longer remember what she looked like. His mother died when he was ten. His brother and sister are too involved with their own families to bother with him. His school friends, now successful professionals or politicians, spurn him. His office mates treat him with contempt - or, at least, that's what he thinks. While the younger men move up the company ladder, Yanez remains at the same desk day after day, year after year, trapped in his monotonous, lonely existence.

And then, suddenly, everything changes. One night Yanez wanders out in the middle of a political demonstration. When he overhears some striking workers complain that they need a smoke, he buys assorted brands of cigarettes and distributes them to the men. The workers immediately begin to treat him as one of their own, calling him companero (comrade) and including him in their activities. Flattered by their attention, Yanez allows himself to be used. For the first time he feels like he belongs to a group; for the first time, he feels useful. But before he knows it, he has been sucked into a vertiginous whirlwind of events that will change his destiny.

Yanez realizes almost immediately that he is caught between warring factions of workers. Who can he trust? Unexpectedly he begins to receive strange, insulting calls on the phone. Two of his "comrades," Tito and Pedro, accompanied by a stranger named Matarazo, appear without warning at his apartment. Pedro is bleeding profusely and leaves stains on Yanez's furniture. The two "comrades" make their get-away to the North, promising to let Yanez and Matarazo know when they have arrived safely. Soon after, a curious caller warns that a wounded man will be deposited with Yanez for safekeeping, and before he knows it, Eugenio finds a mangled near-corpse on his doorstep. Again Yanez finds himself scrubbing out incriminating blood stains. Now the insipid office worker is caught up in a world of conspiracy, intrigue and treason, and there seems to be no way out.

Although there are obvious political overtones to this novel, the focus is on the psychological evolution of Yanez. Y Matarazo no llamo ... is reminiscent of Franz Kafka's The Castle and The Trial and Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities in that all depict characters...

To continue reading