In Her Absence – Antonio Munoz Molina

I am definitely not reviewing my 20 Books of Summer in order of reading, in some cases I need more time to digest the book, in others I really have no idea how to review them. In this case it was pretty clear cut. I bought this book last year during my book buying ban, that was when I discovered that if you can launder money you can just as well launder books and that’s how my book laundering scheme was born.

It is a short book, in under a 100 pages more a novella than a novel. We have here one main character, Mario, and one topic, his obsessive love for Blanca. Blanca seems to be gone from Mario’s life, replaced, as Mario believes by an impostor. Mario remembers the real Blanca, how he rescued here, cared for her and finally won her love. How his love was and still is an obsession, though not in his eyes, and how he molded his whole life around Blanca and making her happy. Mario’s life before Blanca was nothing special and after he met her he decided to make her the focal point of all his actions, she was the person that would make his life special. IF we’re honest Blanca had nothing against it, initially she let Mario save her, only to happily become dependent on him, but subtly belittling him at every step. She clearly made him feel inadequate, her ambitions and interest were to be in the world of art, if she could not be an artist herself she could at least be ones companion. Mundane Mario was no match for her, and while he is still dissecting their relationship without any hint of understanding what went wrong, she probably is enjoying life with another artist in her life… or is she? Maybe it is Mario who is losing it and actually Blanca never left and the woman he claims is her impostor is actually Blanca, only his brain denies it. We’ll never know.

This part of the review is written by my little black heart. I don’t understand the purpose of this book, the author’s goal. It is well written, it portrays the sick relationship very well, but actually both Mario and Blanca seems to be worth each other. I could not sympathize with either of them, he felt overly whiny and clinging (I think I’d get claustrophobic with a man so psychologically dependent on me), she clearly was manipulating and using him (who could mind few years of comfortable living, with someone else earning the money and attending to our every whim). In the end Mario succumbs and starts accepting the impostor, because she feels close enough to Blanca. For me this whole situation was so artificial I could not relate to it. Mario’s clearly overly emotional statements were annoying at times and worrying at others, Blanca felt cold, one actually had to wonder what did Mario loved so much about her. Clearly my little black heart did not like this book. Again that is a subjective opinion, I do think people more in tune with their emotions may find it very moving, I just am more actions oriented and Mario’s inertia was driving me crazy.

This is book #9 of my 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746books.
See my list as it grows here.

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @vkphotospace.com 

20-books 2017

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One thought on “In Her Absence – Antonio Munoz Molina

  1. Pingback: June round-up – bookskeptic.com

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