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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

All Yours

Claudia Piñeiro

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To purchase All Yours

Title: All Yours
Author: Claudia Piñeiro
Genre: Novel
Written: 2005 (Eng. 2011)
Length: 172 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: All Yours - US
Tuya - US (Spanish)
All Yours - UK
All Yours - Canada
All Yours - India
Ganz die Deine - Deutschland
Tua - Italia
Tuya - España
  • Spanish title: Tuya
  • Translated by Miranda France

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Our Assessment:

B : cruelly amusing, with a nice series of twists to it

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
El Cultural . 11/2/2011 Ernesto Calabuig
Página|12 . 10/7/2005 Mariano Dorr
Publishers Weekly . 14/11/2011 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "A la buena y cuidada escritura se le suma la agilidad en la alternancia de escenas, el inteligente manejo del humor negro, la ironía, el misterio ... y, como en sus otras obras, el hallazgo de una historia que, sabiendo mostrar y hasta desenmascarar, añade a los méritos literarios un alto valor sociológico." - Ernesto Calabuig, El Cultural

  • "No es que se haya contado de más: así comienza esta novela policial de Claudia Piñeiro y desde la primera página es imposible abandonar su lectura.(...) El suspense se mantiene a medida que avanza la novela, casi como en una película de Hitchcock (...). Sin embargo, es un humor muy especial lo que hace que el relato sea tan atractivo para el lector. Inés va convirtiéndose poco a poco en una mujer al borde de un ataque de nervios, dispuesta a cualquier cosa con tal de no perder a su marido como le sucediera a su madre." - Mariano Dorr, Página|12

  • "Piñeiro artfully telegraphs the plot’s direction by interjecting sections detailing evidence later used against someone in a criminal prosecution. Noir fans will appreciate the final twist." - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       All Yours is a cruelly amusing little thriller of a family being torn apart. Much of the novel is narrated by Inés, wife and mother (to teenage Lali), who tries to see everything in the best possible light: "you have to put a cheerful spin on things, or reality can kill you." Indeed.
       She and her husband Ernesto seem to have drifted apart; certainly the intimacy is lacking in their marriage. But she's always willing to make excuses for him when he doesn't want to sleep with her (and he pretty much never wants to sleep with her) -- he's a busy, hard-working man, after all, and after so many years of marriage ..... She's even willing to accept that on occasion he might dabble elsewhere:

Because the truth is that, however painful it is to admit it, at some time or other, all women are deceived by their husbands.
       So when she suspects he's going to meet a lover one night, she follows him -- wanting simply to know whether the other woman means anything to him or is just a harmless fling. The woman turns out to be Ernesto's secretary -- and while what Inés witnesses is enough to reassure her that the woman won't get between them any longer, it does open a whole new can of worms -- but one which Inés believes she can use to her advantage: she's perfectly willing to play along, for the sake of her marriage, and as long as Ernesto relies on her everything should be fine.
       Two-timing Ernesto, however, has other plans (and other secrets), but his wife remains blind to these until they become obvious -- and since Ernesto isn't very good at covering his tracks they become obvious pretty quickly. Still, he's helped by the fact that Inés often doesn't immediately grasp the full or true picture of what she sees, drawing the simplest conclusions -- or the ones that fit her picture of her little world -- but often not the obvious or correct one. Much of the fun in the novel is how Inés tries to explain each new piece of information she comes across in a way that allows her to cling to the illusion that she and Ernesto can live happily ever after. For a while, she even likes the game:
Things were becoming more complicated, but also more fun ...
       Eventually, however, she has to admit to herself:
When it comes down to it, nobody is innocent.
       Inés' first-person account alternates with chapters presenting other perspectives -- including many that simply present conversations Lali has with other people. Lali has her own problem to deal with, and while mom is preoccupied trying to save her marriage (and dad is having his affair(s)) no one at home even notices the very obvious change she's going through. Indeed, even as Inés is trying to hold (or re-piece) together her marriage, she's losing her daughter (whom she shows little respect or affection for). (Mother and daughter get along so poorly that Lali actually prefers to sleep in a bus station rather than at home one weekend .....)
       Other chapters present evidence -- as in a police or court report -- having to do with some of what happened, offering more background (and hinting at where the story is going).
       The Inés-and-Ernesto part of the story, and the clever twists that complicate Inés' efforts at maintaining her delusion -- of a happy marriage, where everything will turn out okay -- are entertaining and quite cleverly done. Inés' voice, as she slowly has to admit to herself that the scenarios she has to devise for the accumulating evidence to make 'sense' (i.e. fit the pretty picture she clings to) are increasingly unlikely, is well done. Less successful -- and less credible, too (which is saying a lot) -- is the counterpoint of Lali's sad story; clearly Piñeiro means to offer a commentary on the collapse of the nuclear/(upper) middle-class family that believes only in appearances and tries to avoid admitting to reality, but mom's treatment of Lali, Lali's behavior, and the fact that nobody (except a kind stranger) notices what her situation actually is are all simply too far-fetched, as presented.
       Quite a bit of the writing is pretty slapdash, too, especially the Lali-dialogues (which also rely far too much on ellipses) -- and the translation is uneven, all the more noticeably so in trying to capture a variety of voices (and failing pretty badly with some: so, for example, someone named Guillermo uses expressions such as: "Blimey !" which feels ... out of place, to say the least).
       All Yours is satisfying dark piece of noir for the twists alone, but a bit disappointing as an actual read.

- M.A.Orthofer, 24 December 2011

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All Yours: Reviews: Other books by Claudia Piñeiro under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Argentine author Claudia Piñeiro was born in 1960.

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© 2011-2021 the complete review

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