A Crack in the Wall


Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Bitter Lemon Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.7 X 0.7 inches | 0.48 pounds

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About the Author

Author: Piñeiro, after working as a professional accountant, became a journalist, playwright and television scriptwriter and in 1992 won the prestigious Pléyade journalism award. She has more recently turned to fiction; All Yours (finalist for the 2003 Planeta Prize) was her debut novel. Other titles include Elena Sabe, Un ladrón entre nosotros (winner of the Norma-Fundalectura Youth Literature Prize) and Thursday Night Widows.

Translator: Miranda France wrote Bad Times in Buenos Aires which in essay form won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize in The Spectator magazine. A book by the same title was published in 1998 and met with great critical acclaim. The New York Times described it as 'a remarkable achievement' and the Sunday Times as 'an outstanding book'.


'An old secret comes back to haunt 45-year-old Buenos Aires architect Pablo Simó in Argentinian author Piñeiro's best crime novel yet. One day, an attractive woman of about 25, Leonor, stops by Simó's office and asks him and his two coworkers, Borla and Marta, if they know Nelson Jara. Simó, Borla, and Marta are aware that Jara is dead, buried "under the concrete floor of the parking lot, exactly where they left him that night, three years ago," but the three deny knowing him or his whereabouts. Later, Leonor runs into Simó at a cafe, where she asks him for help with a photography assignment. The development of the relationship between the architect and Leonor plays out against the backstory of how Jara wound up under the parking lot. Piñeiro (All Yours) keeps the reader hooked right up to the wicked, if logical, ending. ' Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'A highly metaphorical crack in a wall that isn't even his splits open the middle-class facade of a Buenos Aires architect's life. Nothing moves very fast at Borla and Associates, where Pablo Simó still hasn't made associate after 20 years. The one time the firm skated close to the wind was when crabby old Nelson Jara, who lived next door to the Calle Girbone project, claimed that the construction had produced a widening crack in his interior wall. Pablo listened to his complaint, put him off with vague promises, then showed up at the construction site to find his boss, Borla, and their secretary Marta Horvat, standing over Jara's corpse. An accident, insisted Borla; instead of risking the long delays that a police investigation would entail, it would be better for everyone if they simply buried the body and let the unwitting cement contractors pour the foundation over the impromptu gravesite. But that was three years ago, and the only disturbances to Pablo's humdrum work life and marriage have been his wife Laura's occasional bad moods, his daughter Francisca's growth into a teenager and his constant sexual fantasies about Marta. Everything changes when photography student Leonor Corell walks into the office of Borla and Associates asking to see Jara. As if in a trance, Pablo, who's already had frequent daydreams in which he's advised by his old school friend Tano Berletta and haunted by Jara, lets Leonor seduce him, loosening his last bonds to a perfectly ordinary life he suddenly realizes has never been his to begin with.
Piñeiro (All Yours, 2011, etc.) unfolds her story, and the social indictment behind it, as placidly as an Argentine Patricia Highsmith at her gentlest.' Kirkus

'Piñeiro's moody, immersive thriller explores personal integrity with an ironic twist, calling to mind Patricia Highsmith's Ripley series. Pablo Simó, a Willy Lomanesque Buenos Aires architect, is burdened with a fouled marriage, dead-end job, and the futility of clinging to his architecture dreams. Young, beautiful Leonor enters Pablo's Buenes Aires office seeking Nelson Jara, a man at the center of a dark act that binds Pablo and his coworkers together. Of course, they send Leonor away with lies, but Pablo later encounters her in the neighborhood, and they develop a chemistry-laden friendship that fuels his obsessive reliving of the Jara incident. Soon Pablo has convinced Leonor to explain her mysterious connection to Jara and her move into the neighborhood. Simultaneously, through Pablo's recollections, Piñeiro reveals why Jara is such an obsession, and none of these revelations is what you'd expect. Usually, readers dread the narrator's doom as the threat of past misdeeds being discovered grows, but Pablo's beautifully painful story somehow cries out for a disaster to divert its trajectory.' Booklist