Sunday 14 October 2018

Look Me in the Eye, Silvia Soler, translated by Richard Thomson

Blanca is working on a translation of a novel by Matteo Spadaro when she finds herself so deeply affected by the story that she begins to question the security of her own world. Translating the disintegration of a fictional relationship leads to doubts chipping away at her own happy marriage. She decides that she needs to visit Sicily, the location of Spadaro’s novel, where she meets the author and discovers that fiction is often not as far removed from reality as one might imagine.

An interesting concept exploring the power of art over reality and the damage paranoia can do. Unfortunately, the potential is not fully realised in this perplexing book. Bruna, the fictional character, has something of a breakdown caused by worry that her husband Massimo is having an affair. Rather than taking this as a cautionary tale, Blanca goes even further in her irrational behaviour. Her actions are far-fetched at best as she allows her obsession to blind her to reality. She behaves deplorably but seems to have no awareness of how contradictory she is being, nor how badly she is treating her partner, Raimon.

The writing style felt unsophisticated, whether the fault of the original author or translator I don’t know. There are moments where you almost care about the characters but the opportunities are passed up. It could, possibly, be redeemed with a more significant, consequential ending but instead the reader is left feeling cold.


  1. Hi there! Nice stuff, do keep me posted when you post again something like this! Dr. Yaldo

    1. Thank you. I try to post once a week, new posts will likely be up on Wednesdays for now.