D Reading Room Presents Wonderful World by Javier Calvo
Part 7: Chapters 57-65
Welcome to D Reading Room, the online book club for people who like to read and riff about books. Our first title is Wonderful World by Javier Calvo, and it’s a fast ride. Some might say a bumpy ride. We say, let’s spend the next few months doing our best imitation of Michiko Kakutani and look at this book every which way. Calvo is one of Spain’s best new writers, and this is his first English translation. In the literary world, for what it is worth, this guy is hot stuff.
Mr. Bocanegra’s strip joint, The Dark Side of the Moon, gets shut down by Commissioner Farina, who takes great pleasure in arresting dancers and patrons alike. It seems that the commissioner was able to break Bob Marley and now knows all about the robbery. Instead of arresting Bocanegra immediately, Farina tells him that he can work a deal if he can take possession of both the paintings and Lucas Giraut. Our friend Juan de la Cruz Saudade also has a bone to pick with Giraut. He breaks into Giraut’s apartment, urinates on things, vomits on other things, and dons one of Giraut’s fancy suits. Unfortunately, because of his whereabouts and his clothing, he is mistaken for Giraut by Koldo Cruz’s men, so he is tortured by that creepy Donald Duck before they figure out that he isn’t actually Giraut. He manages to live, only to be killed later while recovering in the hospital by his increasingly bitter partner, Anibal Manta. Iris very Gonzalvo makes the exchange with Mr. Fleck and Mr. Downey at Biosphere Park. It’s all dramatic. She gives them the location of a van that supposedly houses the paintings, but it’s all a tricky double-cross. She kicks Manta and manages to hoist him over the ledge to Zero Gravity, where he falls and then floats while she escapes. Iris and Giraut break Valentina out of the asylum before they run. And then there’s the whole confrontation between Giraut and Bocanegra, who demands to know why Giraut betrayed him when he was only trying to be a father figure. Then Koldo Cruz and his men show up, and we learn that it was Fanny who betrayed Giraut’s father—not Bocanegra, as Giraut had thought all along. And Valentina, as it turns out, is not a prophet. She’s just plain nuts.
Laura: Sorry if my recap is a bit terse, but I was really disappointed in the ending. Not only was Lucas Giraut wrong about pretty much everything, but I also was looking for symbolism where none existed. For example, I remember reading something about the monk who created the panels; he was locked away in a cell for years. And I remember thinking that maybe Eric Yanel’s locking himself in a closet for an extended period was significant. Guess what? It wasn’t. I’m sorry, but it seemed so Love Boat-y to me that he ended up with Valentina’s mom. These two unhappy couples switch partners, and everybody is just fine with it? Lame.
Also, the whole reason that Giraut became a criminal was to get justice for his dad. But he was wrong.
Why do we never learn what the blackout meant? Why even tell us about Giraut’s dumb dreams? What are we to make of the Stephen King chapters? Valentina was the greatest disappointment to me. She’s insane. So she probably should have been hospitalized, and Giraut’s decision to send her chapters of the books might have made her worse. Boo.
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