Dark

BOOK TITLE: Dark
AUTHOR: Edgardo Cozarinsky
PUBLISHER: Tusquets
GENRE: Fiction
READER’S NAME: Adan Griego
DATE: April 25, 2016

Victor, a restless teenager in Buenos Aires, wants to become a writer. Aware of the limitations of youth, he longs to experience life and chronicle those adventures in his future writings.  

A warm October night (spring in the Southern hemisphere) he wanders into one of those “dark” locales of dubious repute: a tango bar where he goes unnoticed despite being underage. There he meets Andres, a much older and mysterious character, who will become a guiding force into other “dark” places of 1950’s Buenos Aires.

The novel opens (and closes) with the accomplished, and much older, writer looking back at the places and adventures he experienced with the secretive Andres. Theirs becomes an equally secretive relationship: Victor lies to his parents about arriving home late, going away for a few days with his older mentor and the pair of rebellious Levi jeans he has received as a gift.

The exploits take the young Victor from a sexual encounter with an aging prostitute (paid by Andres) to visits of “dark” places like the sauna frequented by closeted gay men, to meeting an aging Gaucho healer and the final capture of the run-away Andres by authorities at their hiding place by one of the Tigre Delta islands not far from Buenos Aires.

Both men experience an “unnamed” desire for each other. For the self-hating older mentor, the only way of channeling those feelings is to shower the young mentee with gifts.  The young Victor feels a sense of shame, guilt and fragility when encountering those unrecognized desires.

Cozarinsky is no stranger to English-speaking audiences. His novels The Moldavian Pimp and The Bride from Odessa have been well received in translation. At 77 years of age, he is also accomplished filmmaker with another potential audience of cinephiles eagerly awaiting access to this 130-page novella packed with “dark” adventures.