Work Title: A Week in October
Work Author(s): Elizabeth Subercaseaux; Marina Harss, translator
Hardcover $22.95 (208pp)
Reviewer: Sarah Christensen
Clara Griffin has not written since she was a child, when she crafted fairy stories filled with odd characters and even odder outcomes. But like a writer, Clara observes: walking on the street, she guesses after the names and lives of those who pass by her to make up for the emptiness in her own life. After she learns that she is terminally ill, her husband, Clemente, suggests that she pick up a pen and write, and she does. Within the pages of a notebook, which she entitles A Week in October, a tale of her weeklong affair with one of her husband's colleagues unfolds, as well as the knowledge of her husband's own affairs. When Clemente discovers the notebook, and her affair with his colleague, it is so mysteriously structured, he does not know if it is merely a tale or if it is a skilled interweaving of both truth and untruth. He begins to ask if the self-centered and acquisitive husband described within its pages could be him.
Clara occupies a haunted country. The political unrest that shadowed so much of Chile's history into this century is made visible with small, deft strokes and speaks to Clara's deep sense of loss. Her depressed mother committed suicide and her charismatic father faded away. Having miscarried and remained childless, she writes of how she and her husband returned to visit what was left of her...