Uruguay: Gloomy Sadness of Slow Despair

I have been very lucky with finding books from South America, but then strangely I had problems finding a single book from Uruguay. I have learned to be happy about getting my hands on even one single book from a country, because in the end that is what I need. I finally found Past Caring? by Juan Carlos Onetti, and that is the book I read for this challenge.

A man writes in his diary about his life. His wife leaves him, and in the end it turns out not to be a big tragedy since it turns out they did not really have much in common, and they pretty much only shared a life through the things they owned. This gives him an opportunity to turn a new leaf, and start a new chapter in his life. He starts working at a dam, but he soon realizes there is something fishy going on there, and there is some sort of smuggling going on there.

He tried to escape the dullness of his old life of not much stimulus, to simply end up in the same state of apathy as he was used to, and the town he moved to is filled with people trying to get through from day to day. It is a bit gloomy. He ponders who he is, and why he is this person, and not someone else. He is a bit of an intellectual, but stuck in his world of uselessness. 

It is a philosophical book, and it is not easy to understand all the hidden meanings and layers of this book. I believe it is easier if you are familiar with Onetti’s other books, way of thinking, and his metaphors. The theme of sadness can be a bit overwhelming; characters drinking, having meaningless sex, and talking about weird subjects.

Apparently there are characters from Onetti’s previous books, so reading something else before this one might have helped me to fully understand everything. Might be though that this is a book not meant to be fully understood, or written in a way that every reader can make up their own mind what it really is all about. To me it leaves a bit too much unsaid, and at times it goes too much into detail. Not a bad read, but have to be honest and say I wouldn’t read it again. 

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