45 thoughts on “The Secret In Their Eyes – Eduardo Sacheri

  1. Retirement Party

    “A girlfriend he had when he was young used to make fun of his compulsive way of looking at himself in shop windows. Chaparro never confessed the truth, neither to her nor to any of the other women who passed through his life: his habit of gazing at his own reflection has nothing to do with self-love or self-admiration; it’s never been anything but another attempt to figure out who the hell he is.”

    A very very very engaging start to this book whereby we discover the nature of the author — the above Chaparro, and a budding Garcia Marquez — and of what is to follow in this book, I infer, with his requesting, from the lady judge, an old tank of a typewriter upon his retirement rather than a new-fangled computer — and then dodging the retirement party in his honour. A chief administrative worker in the Argentinian court system during what I gather to be that land’s ‘dirty war’. He is imbued with the very stones of the courthouse, and what is he going to do with the rest of his life, he asks. The question in my mind, though, is, if he is the author, who wrote this introduction? Wondering whether I have inferred correctly, is it an introduction at all? And is what follows evidence of how he used the typewriter?

  2. 1

    “I’ve often caught myself feeling a certain guilty joy at the disasters of others, as if the fact that horrible things happened to other people meant that my own life would be exempt from such tragedies, as if I’d get a kind of safe-conduct based on some obtuse law of probability:”

    This is an amazing chapter; I am gobsmacked, and, like Chaparro himself, I am more than just tempted to use a single fucking expletive there! He is retired, now a writer, and I crazily empathise with all the battles with himself about filling his retirement, by being a writer, his frustrations, his ripping up pages of what he had written, his self-criticism in such endeavours, be it truth or fiction, arriving at the truth of this statement by writing about a real person named Ricardo Morales: “I won’t have to incur the shame of telling lies in order to fill in gaps or enhance the plot or persuade the reader not to chuck the book away after fifteen pages.”
    One’s own fiction to be subsumed by factual endeavours? – in my own case: book reviews by other people, now hopefully arriving in fictions of truth as a single gestalt. In his case: the true story of Ricardo Morales (and Isidoro Gómez?)
    But how to start it? Where to plunge in?
    So much more here I could tell you about….

  3. 2

    “In general, people cobble together memories of their experiences from the hazy vestiges that have remained in their minds, or from fragments recalled from other, similar experiences, and with those vestiges and fragments they try to reconstruct circumstances or feelings they’ve lost forever. Not Morales.”

    By this chapter, we are plunged into Morales’ life on in 1968 with his wife Liliana whom he first met in 1966.
    [I first met my own wife in 1966, too, and have long had a happy life with her since then but, like Morales, I have always experienced a “sense of imminent disaster, of a catastrophe lying in wait around the corner.”]
    Whatever the case, this chapter is a superlative character study by Chaparro upon Morales and you need to savour it slowly to appreciate all the nuances of the latter’s character. Chaparro’s character, too, is continuously adumbrated, not only in what he says about himself in the numbered chapters but also in the following section called…
    Cinema (akin to the narrative standpoint of the earlier ‘Retirement Party’), whereby we learn more about Chaparro’s hankerings regarding (if I recall correctly) the lady judge he sometimes calls Irene…
    [I am beginning to wonder whether I am actually here reading two separate synergous novels as I did within Tony & Susan, and, to some extent, also within Death’s Dark Abyss.]

  4. 3 & 4

    “Look, Chaparrito. Courts are like islands; you can land on Tahiti or Alcatraz.”

    May 30, 1968, first person narrative, a Dream Archipelago of Assholes, Hierarchipelagic Islands of Imbeciles, in the Court House where ‘I’ worked … islands infecting the clerkish ‘me’ with the same assholery of the court system, competitive, where the lowest unskills rise highest amid the various selfish procedures and pecking orders.
    This is STRONG writing, no mistake. It is a sheer pleasure to read, and I compliment both the source author and his translator. A reader is a sort of translator, too? Writers and translators are never assholes, of course, and their dreams join up into beautiful gestalts.

  5. 5

    “…and once again I was appalled by the morbid pleasure some people find in the contemplation of tragedy.”

    This pen-pusher, in more ways than one, being a mere court clerk in 1968, as well as writing these plot-evocative words themselves, manages to become, not only an unwilling participant simply because of the petty shift rules of being on duty, but also an officious or official ‘gawker’ by using an out-facing bravado at a murder scene to which ‘I’ have been sent, a murder seemingly collusive with the start of the Morales story — by which means collusive should not be imparted to you here for fear of spoiling, even altering, the plot — as ‘I’ witness the dislikeable chief policeman Báez trying to out-face the dead body’s medical examiner and vice versa.

  6. 6 & 7

    “I looked from one employee to the next, wondering which of them was Morales. I tried to remember the wedding photograph on the night table in his bedroom,…”

    One cannot continue emphasising the strength of the writing in this book (you must take this fact in your future reading as read), and eventually one needs to start empathising instead with the characters and events, as I follow Báez in my role as Chaparro when Báez breaks the bad news in young Morales’ workplace — amid many ‘masks and manifestations’ of grief. I am now fully the me within the book, an observer as well as one of those observed. I look forward, with some trepidation, to what happens to me next. And also to Morales. A multi-hybrid narrative now becoming one narrative? Not so much a whodunnit as a which-story-is-which? Which secret in whose eyes?

    “…everything we love can be extinguished from one moment to the next…”

  7. 8 & 9

    “Romano was trying to show off. Since I considered myself a compassionate fellow, and since I was, naturally, in the most absolute ignorance as to all the consequences the events of that day were going to have in the years to come, I found Romano’s efforts to dazzle our superiors more amusing than annoying.”

    This book makes me feel smart when in the shoes of Chaparro. And everyone else who reads alongside me are crassly idiotic. Renovating a flat does not eventually mean that it won’t fall flat one day in some distant time. But the ordinary men who renovated it today did a real great job. Just as ironically ‘the fluff of the present otherwise contains the seeds of future tragedies’…
    Reading ahead of even myself, perhaps! The instincts in top gear, harvesting them while I still can, yet ready for them to die.

  8. 10

    “Outside, a torrential rain was very gradually letting up.”

    When does torrential rain stop being torrential, was a question that went through my mind BEFORE Morales told me about the the significance of the word ‘but’, and here the sun ‘butting in’ where it had no business to but in. You know, I am beginning to like Morales. He is a bit like me. No wonder I bought him a coffee.

    “Maybe that’s why I invited him to have coffee with me. I was aware that I was violating the most elemental rules of judicial asepsis. I soothed my conscience by telling myself I was doing it out of sympathy for his loss, or I wanted to make some kind of amends for Romano’s stupid haste.”

    “Making a brusque sign to the waiter, I ordered two coffees; Morales accepted his wordlessly. After that, we had nothing to do.”

    …nothing to do BUT discuss the murder and judicial processes and the idiocy of those I had reported for criminal concoctions.

  9. 11

    Attrition of waiting, biding my time with such literature,
    slowly, slowly, eke and savour,
    if I just sit on the case file and officially write it off, I might eventually find even more meaning within the words,
    beyond the “mania for shelving cases as soon as possible when no suspects had been found, no matter whether the crime was theft or murder.”—
    That pragmatic ‘overload’ syndrome of writing cases off for pragmatic reasons of capacity that I myself experienced when I worked in a job concerned with a form of crime investigation,
    And I intend to let this book simmer along day by day in its satisfying strength of what is within it that I have not yet found out,
    in moral loyalty to myself in vowing to help such eventual morals in the pregnant words of literature come out and win in the end, a loyalty to to those morals as well as to Morales himself.

  10. telephone

    “So much strict attention to detail is, therefore, unnecessary. But this admirably balanced line of reasoning does nothing to diminish his obstinate desire to review the case.”

    “…it would give him an opportunity to have coffee with Irene…”

    The separate competing novel written by whom? ABOUT me in the third person of Chaparro? Still, I regret I never started calling Irene by the familiar form of you instead of the unfamiliar form of you, all those years ago when she, as a referred second person singular, was an intern under my jurisdiction. Now, today’s temptation of the telephone… she still answers the phone over-familiarly before she knows who is calling the Court… good such verities remain stable in a mobile world, I somehow think from outside the book as its reader.

  11. alibis and departures

    “Now he can breathe easy; since he hasn’t smelled it, it’s possible that her scent won’t keep him awake for the next two or three nights.”

    I can actually feel the anguish of this third person singular as he runs through evocatively the backstory to his unspoken unrequited love for Irene since the late 1960s …. and his meeting with her today — or upon the today in his book concerning the long-term aftermath of the Morales case and the favour he requires from her to access the case’s archives for his book as well as for someone else’s parallel inner book about his book — and her wet kiss of politeness upon his cheek. And her own cheek, when she tells him….

    “In the archive even the floor tiles know who you are.”

  12. archive

    “, he feels a rare sense of security, of shelteredness.”

    Chaparro, today, is no longer me, well at least no longer so for the nonce. But I relate this evocative description — of a maze-like archive containing ancient Court papers, an archive plagued by unkillable rats — with my reading just now (a few minutes ago HERE) of another implicitly and ironically dangerous ‘shelter’, in a forest of trees rather than of no doubt foxed papers, as a co-metaphor for life.

  13. seamster & pages

    “When he finished with a case file, it was bound into one or more large tomes, each of which looked like a volume of an encyclopedia.”

    You can always tell you’re in the company of a great prose storyteller when past times come alive through all the six senses, including that of inadvertence and the relatively trivial as well as the seeming important. Here the pages of the Court file regarding Morales and what happened, an autopsy, but if you have not read this book, you will not know of whose body the autopsy was conducted. Nor of the man and his habits who once had sewn this court file together, living page by living page upon which dead-yet-expectant-of-being-read words resided. Nor of what was on pages 208 and 209, and why there is a pretentiously flourishing signature by someone called Lacalle, while outside the archive building there is slipped, without any reader noticing except me, the fact that there is a Lacalle Street…..This is the independent narrative about Chaparro reading today about things that happened in 1968. Next chapter, I sense we will be back with Morales himself and “me”. Yet, even today as well as then, some people hate wasting electricity and will sit in the dark rather than doing so, I guess. At least they can still feel the indentations of old typewriting from the past, almost like Braille?

    “He imagines that he himself is one of those pages. Anyone at all. He imagines himself waiting for years and years in the most utter darkness, squeezed between the previous and following pages, smooth and soft like them.”

  14. 12

    “I was feeling the same mixed reaction I always felt when looking at photographs: sincere curiosity, a genuine interest in the lives hinted at in the glossy, eternally silent prints, but also a deep melancholy, a sense of loss, of incurable nostalgia, of a vanished paradise behind those minuscule instants, arrived from the past like naive stowaways.

    This is wonderful stuff! Why have I not read this book of fiction before? Truth is not the only harbour, I guess.
    Looking through Morales’ photographs all those years ago, in his company. Trying to gain or gauge from their diffuseness of a life lived, a single gestalt of whatever guilt of whoever. The ever-sliding ‘time present and time past’ of photographs, a PAlimpseST given a new slant of revelation by my own real-time reviewing of them…

    “I don’t know why I noticed what I noticed. I imagine it was because I’ve always liked looking at things a little sidelong, focusing on the background instead of the foreground.”

    ***

    Cf the photographs in my recent real-time review of time present and time past in this novel: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/time-present-and-time-past-deirdre-madden/

  15. 13 & 14

    A waste of space “…or I was a misunderstood genius, my talent wasted in the tedious exercise of secondary activities suitable for natures less favored than my own.”

    Chaparro — me, too? But as translator by this real-time review of a seeming excellent translation itself, of a language I would never understand otherwise, of a novel that you will surely agree is also ‘seeming excellent’, too, as crystallised on these pages beyond such veils and piques…
    It certainly FEELS like a real substantive novel of the novel craft that I have written or am reading, with backward glimpses of the father of the murdered one and his suspicions as to the culprit, his devious means to pursue such a suspicion, and Chaparro’s (mine, too) scrying of the PAlimpseST in several photographs that we viewed yesterday to reach the same suspect as culprit. Genius, indeed, from all quarters or triangulations!

  16. 15

    “…moving his coffee cup to one side, as if it were an obstacle that might impede the passage of his words…”

    My theory of the culprit from visual impressions in photographs impresses the policeman Báez whom I earlier underestimated, I guess. I may be astute, too, and he is astute enough to recognise my astuteness as well as my ability to be a fine writer, but, as in fixing fiction dates, I falsely fix reality’s dates, too, to hide the fact, if not fiction, that I recognised the murderer because I recognised his ways of looking at his future victim as my own ways, too!
    The secret in our eyes, indeed.

    “Báez picked up the telephone and bounced the switch hook up and down a few times. When the same office employee as before put his head inside the door, Báez asked him for more coffee.”

  17. 16

    He’s going to ask him to repeat the question. He’s going to ask him to repeat it, I told myself.”

    Amidst much amusing character play, I pull the wool over some eyes about my investigations into the Morales case and the culprit I had identified, and thus to enable the case then not to be closed, I and my variable genius colleague enacted a manoeuvre of distractions on Lacalle (a name that means more than it seems?) to get his multiple signatures. A play of dodgy legal paperwork procedures to match the earlier dodgy police ones in Tony&Susan and Death’s Dark Abyss? One of these distractions being the question of…

    “A Dodge Coronado or a Ford Fairlane?”

  18. First and Last Names

    “…but now the words have risen to the surface, along with a whole string of other memories of Chaparro’s past and of the people with whom he lived it.”

    Adoration letter in the novel’s today of its own real-time projected to Irene…but… “…after the rejection, there will be no place anymore for even those brief moments he steals from her life, drinking coffee in her office,…”

    What’s he going to call his novel? Sixteen chapters of a so-called novel already under his belt in the typescript pile. Its by-line his real name or a pseudonym? But I ask about the name of the author writing these bits ABOUT him rather than BY him? By me or him, or someone else? The secret in our eyes.

  19. 17

    “What a dope. If I needed something to make me definitively disgusted with Onganía and his military regime, that was it.”

    Impending, foreboding matters take on potentially magnified proportions in 1969, and plots and pecking orders that make me shudder. And, to cap it all, my wife wants to have a baby with me! Why will nothing ever be resolved? – especially from a built-in hindsight that can be read between the lines as indented by my future typing, a future well beyond 1969. (Re-assuming, briefly, the role of reviewer of this translated book, my own baby was not due to arrive till 1971!)

  20. 18

    “‘Nothing new,’ he said. He blinked, twisted around a little, verified that he’d finished his coffee,…”

    I am getting a late train back to my home and wife. I arrive at the station at the ‘high tide’ of commuters, later resonating with the swaying of the eventual homeward train, dwelling on what I should now do…

    But not before I hear Morales say —
    “‘Coffee’s bad for you, you have to drink less of it,’ she said. I told her she was right. I liked the way she fretted about me.”

    Stubborn train station vigils by Morales alert for a sighting of the suspect or the actual culprit as he thinks he knows it is. My input helped with his certainty, I guess.
    My arriving by chance and seeing Morales there. Comparing my own relationship to ‘my’ wife with his relationship to his. Those reading this book alongside me will know the implications….

    “But what’s happening is that I tend to remember the same things. The same images. So what am I really remembering?”
    I can’t remember who said that now! Will have to recheck tomorrow with the text I have just read…

  21. 19

    A nifty chapter back and forth on the Once Station train, as inadvertent turnings regarding last night’s football, a fare dodger and the ticket inspector have great bearing on this story. These are the signals of Literature good and proper, where connections work and points do change. On track towards the Ever Station of gestalt. The germane and the inadvertent alike.

  22. 20 & 21

    “‘Having a connection’ was sufficiently vague.”

    Goose or Noose, 1972 was a year when the dead bodies built up in Argentina, I learn. But that factoid cannot surely take precedence over what happens in the best crime interview scene in all literature, where good and bad cop are subsumed to my (Chaparro’s) nervous restraint-in-revenge ‘cop’ and Sandoval’s drunken one! It worked like all things work in time, with inadvertencies and fatefulnesses come together into the words I can write or scry. And what words others say back, thus taunted or goaded exquisitely into false or true confessions? The question mark is important at all times? Whatever the case, I am being impelled along by my pen / typewriter or keying fingers as I describe the scene in these chapters and then later real-time reviewing it in this paragraph now complete.

    Complete, until tomorrow — idiotic and astute reviewers as another item of teamwork that I wield within my own single self, interviewing empirically every text that I choose to review or that is recommended to me as this one was.

  23. 22 & 23

    “, and spends two hours in silence, unmoving, looking out the cafe window, might indeed seem to share some qualities with a dead body or a ghost.”

    The recurrence of coffee as a syndrome? This is haunting stuff, as I tell Morales about the ‘success’ of the interview and the culprit as good as apprehended. Taking the purpose from his life as the ‘heedless’ crowds he had been watching, as if forever, still passed the Once Station café window. In parallel with my own unsettlingly pervasive guilt vis à vis my (Chaparro’s) own wife then in 1972…
    This book will haunt you forever. But, then, I am still uncertain how it’s going to pan out, being only 60% through it! A bit like life itself, even when you are 99% through it, I sense.
    The secret of life in all our eyes.

  24. POSSIBLE SERIOUS SPOILERS BELOW, BUT I GENUINELY DO NOT BELIEVE THEY ARE.

    abstinence

    “Would that be the best conclusion for the story he’s telling? Yesterday, Chaparro finished recounting his second meeting with Morales in the little bar in Once station, and now he’s tempted to let his book stop there. It’s cost him a mighty effort to bring the tale around to this point. Why not be satisfied? He’s described the crime, the investigation, and the discovery of the murderer. The wicked is imprisoned and the good is avenged: a happy ending, of a sort. The half of Chaparro that hates uncertainty and almost desperately longs to be done with his project suggests that he’s reached the perfect stopping point; he’s managed, more or less, to tell the story he proposed to tell, and he feels that the voice he’s found to tell it is adequate to the purpose. The characters he’s created have a startling resemblance to the flesh-and-blood people he knew, and those characters have said and done, more or less, things the real people said and did. His cautious side suspects that if he pushes ahead, everything will go to hell, his story will overflow its banks, and his characters will wind up acting at their own whim without sticking to the facts, or his memory of the facts, which in this case amounts to the same thing, and all his efforts will have been in vain.
    But Chaparro has another half, and a strong desire to be guided by it. After all, it’s the part of him that felt the urge and made the decision to write what he’s written so far. And that part constantly reminds him that the story didn’t end where he’s ended it, that it kept on going, that he hasn’t yet told it all. So why is he so tense, so nervous, so distracted? Is it simply that he’s unsure of how to continue? Anxious about being in the middle of the river and unable to make out the other bank?”

    “What’s much more important is that he’s going to have coffee on Thursday with Irene.”

    A short section, this, and I have quoted most of it above. I thought it important to do so. And I beg forgiveness from the author and the translator. And from the co-reader who thought I was a mere book reviewer rather than another character muscling into this major work!
    A landmark for all of us, a pause, an ironic non-abstinence, a non-absence, and now plucking up courage we go forward together into the last 40% of the book during the last 1% of mine.

  25. 24 & 25

    The fiction starts here, or how did I, Chaparro, know what happened in a prison shower and thereafter between prisoners? Seeking motives from someone who seems to have such wildly seeming motives amid such brainstorming behaviour? You can see secrets in people’s eyes, yes, but you have to see their eyes when the secrets are actually IN those eyes.
    Well, if I didn’t know, I do now! These chapters tell me.

  26. Coffee

    “What’s the proper facial expression in such a circumstance?”

    Chaparro, no longer ‘me’ for a short break, with Irene, in the book’s terms of its today. This is inscrutable relationship time, trivial or meaningful, we shall see later in their eyes, I guess. Whatever the case, I had no idea about the co-coffee thematics of this book and Death’s Dark Abyss till I progressed between the two as separate books… the sensed separate books within each book, too.

  27. 26 – 29

    “You know, it occurs to me it would be better for us to meet in a cafe. Rather than talk on the telephone, I mean.”

    Flowers given to your woman and that means you are one of the ‘good boys’! Meanwhile, a political amnesty in prisons opens a whole can of worms stemming from the plot of truth I have carefully adumbrated so far about me, about a certain wild cold head of a brainstorming prisoner ripe for political recruitment in Argentine these early 1970s, about my previous stupid colleagues at the court, and about Morales (poor guy) …
    And, now, Báez…

    “…the general chaos that both of us accepted as an essential aspect of the reality we were doomed to live in, mutually assuming that its complexity was beyond our understanding.”

    “He paused to slosh around what was left of his coffee and swallow it in one gulp. The cup looked ridiculously small in his huge paw. I knew we’d eventually get to the heart of the matter.”

    Would you believe it! Well, as I DO, you have no other option! First, I must tell Morales (poor guy)…

    “Should I go to see him at the bank, or should I make an appointment with him at the cafe where we’d met on previous occasions? The cafe sounded like a better idea.”

  28. 30
    Even numbers can seem dirty.

    “When I saw Morales sitting there in front of me on that June afternoon in 1973, I understood that the brevity or longevity of a human being’s life depends most of all on the amount of grief that person is obliged to bear. Time passes more slowly for those who suffer, and pain and anguish leave definitive marks on their skin.”

    The earlier justice now undone. Painfully portrayed.

    “‘It’s my maxim: Everything that can go bad is going to go bad. And its corollary: Everything that seems to be going well will turn, sooner or later, to shit.’
    Wasn’t that the first time Morales had allowed himself to use bad language in a conversation with me?”

    Agonising debate on the nature of potential revenge and the eventual gestalt’s tendency towards the injustice of Sod’s law. Murphy, not Morales? Even dying isn’t simple… life’s entropy as the way it is percolated in real-time and then poured out?
    Turning to ‘shit’, like coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup?

    “…and I took the opportunity to order another coffee.”

  29. More Coffee

    And, tellingly, more of Death’s Dark Abyss syndrome, too …. a heaven or hell of self-revenge?

    This Chaparro Chapter is a crucial one where we can see more secrets in the eyes of the words not written by him in first person singular than in the ones he does…

    Irene proposes another cup of coffee, and he, with the utmost awkwardness, points out that they’ve already drunk all the coffee, that the pot in the electric coffeemaker is empty, and that the machine itself is off.”

    “….he looks her straight in the eyes, that the only missing element, the addition he needed to consider himself saved and in a state of perpetual grace, was her, her in the armchair next to his, or maybe reclining and reading at his side, and his hand, his fingertips, gently caressing her head and leaving shallow furrows in her hair.”

    “A fainting sensation comes over Chaparro, because he’s just noticed that this woman asks one thing with her lips and another with her eyes.”

    “…that woman, that woman sent to him from heaven or hell and now lodged inextricably in his heart and his head, that woman who’s still, even at this distance, asking him what’s wrong, with the loveliest eyes in the world.”

    Please cross-reference Haruki Murakami’s coffee syndrome in his own first person singular yesterday here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/first-person-singular-by-haruki-murakami/#comment-21513

  30. doubts

    “Chaparro rereads the opening sentence of his new chapter and hesitates.”

    The dress rehearsal of what happens next, in 1976…?
    If any book has its own real-time review of itself within it, then this is it!

    • Today, I also reflect on the news in the real-time of today, only then to read the next chapter, the one that was rehearsed yesterday….

      31

      1976
      “…the whole problem of political violence and repression, which had grown especially acute since Perón’s death. Currently, fewer bodies were being dumped in empty lots; the murderers had evidently perfected their methods.”

      “I felt a little guilty. I remembered something I’d read: ‘Flooding in India leaves forty thousand dead, but as I don’t know them, I’m more concerned for […]’”

      “Was I selfish and unfeeling, or were we all?”

  31. 32 – 34

    “Things were moving from bad to worse. He looked at me. Was he trying to place me in the strange and belligerent context he’d created?”

    “My tale wasn’t long in the telling, but I do believe I spent more time relating it than living it.”

    “I hadn’t closed my eyes for a day and a half, and during the course of those thirty-six hours, I’d participated in a barroom brawl, walked across half the city of Buenos Aires by night and by day, gazed upon the complete destruction of my home, and turned into a fugitive, although I didn’t yet have a very good idea why. I laid my head on the pillow—which also smelled clean—and fell fast asleep.”

    I have lived through it all with him. A third person singular become a first by wearing his clothes and the accoutrements of the place and time (please see the final story here yesterday by chance.)
    So where, when or who on earth are you?

  32. 35 & 36

    “The thugs say ‘vacuum.’ It means they carry off anybody they feel like carrying off to one of their hideouts.”

    The interstices of this plot’s sieve and its characters factored into and from any of its holes amidst the unruly conditions of Argentina in those days…who killed whom, when and how and why and where did they put them? Me and Báez talking about it, in such places where we might have had coffee but even too busy talking to remark on this lack. All in the same figurative breath of a “tea strainer”, as it were…

    “An image flashed in my memory: Morales sitting at a table in the little bar, putting the photographs in strict numerical order and arranging them into chronologically organized piles.”

  33. 37 & 38

    “After showing me a large armchair, he offered me some coffee, which I declined. […] I realized the worst thing about my eight days as a fugitive was that I’d stopped feeling like myself.”

    “It was certainly true that I was fleeing to the farthest corner of Argentina.”

    The order of things happening (and to whom) sometimes change? Peaks and vales. Piques and veils.

    “Sometimes we men feel more secure if we treat those we love a little coldly.”

    Used to express leave-taking or farewell, Vale is a shortened form of the word valley. Vale is defined as a way to express farewell. … farewell to Sandoval with his peaks and vales, a shortened valley of farewell forever?

  34. 39

    “The cab driver decided to edify me with a discourse whose object, I soon realized, was to explain why the British would never be able to reconquer the Malvinas with the wretched little fleet they’d just dispatched.”

    …and that now places us in time, as well as the “metaphysical sarcasm” of this book and its sad Sandoval, who perhaps has died of alcohol abstinence! The irony, too, of my visit for the funeral to Buenos Aires while still delaying the visit there from Jujuy to my mother until July!
    And other releases of my information to dear Sandoval’s dear widow of my romance back in Jujuy… all grist to death’s dark abyss and this book’s ongoing plot…

    “I’ve always hated the sterile spectacle of our funeral rites, ever since I was a boy. Those gauzy shrouds, the candles, the fearful stench of dead flowers—they all seemed to me like vain artifices devised by bored illusionists to dissemble the honest and appalling bluntness of death.”

    And talking about Death’s Dark Abyss…

    “Afterward, she made me some coffee, and we talked a little about everything.”

    • Mate or maté also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink. It is made by soaking dried leaves of the holly species Ilex paraguariensis in hot water and is served with a metal straw in a container typically made from a calabash gourd. — From Internet

      More doubts

      “He falls to questioning himself again about which story he’s writing,….”

      Novel or documentary account? Autobiography or a book about the Morales case? Fantasy or real South American history? Questions interwoven with his agonising over the three women who, in this chapter’s future, had once figured in Chaparro’s life. Truth or fiction? His own legal precision or an emotional thriller?

      “He hears the whistling of the kettle and realizes that while he’s been absorbed in his flights of amorous fancy, the water for his maté has reached the temperature of an erupting volcano. Tossing the water, refilling the kettle, and waiting for it to reach the right temperature allow him to gather the strength of spirit he needs to start writing the final, definitive chapters of his story.”

  35. 40 – 45, restitution

    “I don’t know why—well, actually, I do—the image of Morales sitting in the little cafe at the entrance to the Once railroad station came into my mind. The same meticulousness, the identical obstinacy. I felt a little sad.”

    It is the book’s present, 1996, and I felt unable to resist reaching restitution in one fell swoop of reading to the end, despite my previous careful eking out of this book heretofore. You will know, what I mean, and appreciate these end sections’ suspense, when you read them for yourself…
    It is certainly as if I was meant to read this book at this increasingly crucial stage of my life! Thanks to all the fateful turnings that brought me to this book.
    The secrets of this plot will ever stay with me. To reach these secrets you need to read the book’s eyes themselves.

    “It would be trivial to tell you that the prospect of death worries me.”

    Although I have long since given up smoking, a habit of smoking that Morales, in his own words, has now taken up again almost in vengeful spite, if not ironic respite or restitution.

    “Did time not pass for the man? Did he live in an eternal present, where each thin, transparent day blended into the one before?”

    “As far as I’m concerned, dead people look dead,…”

    Kind though, to think of my trousers’ cleanliness by providing boots to reach our future times’ cell lockdown within the core of this book.

    “…walking around his shed and carrying a shovel.”
    While also carrying in my head a novel.

    “I believe that was the first time I’d ever imagined Morales and his wife together and alive, drinking coffee in their kitchen, chatting and smiling at each other; and life seemed to me unbearably cruel and hostile. It was also the first and last time that the thought of the young couple brought tears to my eyes.”

    “That’s the truth,” he said. “People do weird things.”

    Time to take the typewriter back, that Restitution of the Remington.
    Back to the woman that bears my own daughter’s middle name.

    “Bones don’t talk…”
    But words can walk…

    To the Once station café … unless my (Chaparro’s) “blank” of “intention” intervenes?

    I posted this blog half an hour before reading for the first time these end chapters….a post that now seems at least slightly relevant…

    My work is undone..

    More amazing, I have just discovered on-line (since reading the last few chapters), time present and time past, the clues to a different secret:

    The Secret within the Secret


    Amazing, but not a plot spoiler.

    Photos were once interpreted to show guilt or innocence — and words and secrets and intentions and cross-fertilisations of truth and fiction and any future blanks, all of which have their true gestalt to be crystallised and acted upon, I sense.

    end

  36. Pingback: The Secret in Their Eyes | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

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