Home Reading Services (El lector a domicilio)

Home Reading Services (El lector a domicilio)

Novel | Sexto Piso, 2018 | 162 pages

Winner of the prestigious prize Xavier Villaurrutia 2019

Home Reading Services takes place in Cuernavaca, a city  about an hour’s drive from Mexico City that is known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. Today, far from being the quiet residential town with the largest number of swimming pools in the whole world, it has become plagued by robbery, kidnapping and all kinds of violence related to drug trafficking.

The main character, Eduardo, has committed a minor crime and was sentenced to a year of community service. His job consists of reading novels to sick or retired people.

Eduardo lives with his sick father and Celeste, his father´s caretaker, and is in charge of his father´s furniture store. He leads a lonely and boring life. His only friends are some waitresses from a local restaurant.

The persons he visits for his readings at home and his sister Ofelia, with whom he has a difficult relationship, are paraded before the reader.

In spite  of his manly voice that seduces his listeners, Eduardo in unable to get involved in his readings and fails to grasp the meaning of the words he so beautifully reads aloud…

Trapped by the provincial boredom and the dangers of prevailing crime in his city, Eduardo allows himself to be carried away by a series of sinister events that imperceptibly and unexpectedly will place him in the middle of the community of retired old people to whom he had to devote most of his life.

No matter how unsuccessful or strange their lives are, they reveal communication problems that are almost magical. The story is a well-constructed novel, a happy and joyfully fantastic sadness that does not solve all these problems; but poetry does. Philippe Lançon