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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

A Crack in the Wall

Claudia Piñeiro

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To purchase A Crack in the Wall

Title: A Crack in the Wall
Author: Claudia Piñeiro
Genre: Novel
Written: 2009 (Eng. 2013)
Length: 218 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: A Crack in the Wall - US
Las grietas de Jara - US
A Crack in the Wall - UK
A Crack in the Wall - Canada
A Crack in the Wall - India
Der Riss - Deutschland
La crepa - Italia
Las grietas de Jara - España
  • Spanish title: Las grietas de Jara
  • Translated by Miranda France

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Our Assessment:

B : decent mix of suspense and mid-life-crisis novel

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Neue Zürcher Zeitung . 15/9/2011 kuk.
Publishers Weekly . 17/6/2013 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Piñeiro keeps the reader hooked right up to the wicked, if logical, ending." - 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:

       A Crack in the Wall centers entirely on Pablo Simó, a long-married forty-five year-old architect stuck in the deepest of ruts. He works for developer Borla and Associates, pines for co-worker Marta (who is, of course, sleeping with the boss), and continues to sketch his pie-in-the-sky vision that he'll never be able to build in his current position -- a position it looks like he'll never get out of. His marriage holds little for him at this point, either, with his wife Laura doing little more than getting hysterical about what their increasingly rebellious fifteen-year-old daughter Francisca is up to. And when he asks Francisca how she sees him he gets the unvarnished truth: "Pathetic".
       It's not his daughter that provides the necessary shove for him to act instead of just go with the long-endured flow, but rather the appearance of another young woman, Leonor, who shows up at the office asking for a Nelson Jara -- a name no one at Borla and Associates wants to hear. A few years earlier the company had been in a protracted dispute with Jara, who claimed that their new construction project had led to a possibly dangerous crack appearing in the wall of his neighboring apartment. As soon becomes clear, Jara disappeared -- died, in fact, and wound up buried in the foundations of that project. Whether it was murder or an accident is not immediately entirely clear, but over the course of the novel Pablo returns repeatedly to memories of his encounters with the man, and how they dealt with the problem.
       Leonor and Pablo meet again, and she enlists him to help with a photography project she's working on. He's intrigued -- and, of course, still curious why the hell she was asking about Jara, since there must be a connection.
       If the quickly-developed relationship between Pablo and Leonor seems rather unrealistic, Piñeiro nevertheless twists her story nicely enough to keep it far from being entirely predictable. Argentina at this time remains a country with many cracks in the walls, and everyone seems to be gaming the system, one way or another. The rather slow and steadfast Pablo realizes he hasn't been entirely kept out of it -- he's complicit in Jara's fate -- but what he learns from Leonor pushes him to finally take some action. It amounts to little more than resolving a mid-life crisis, but it's quite satisfying, with some of the roles less obvious than it originally seems -- including those of both Leonor and Francisca.
       The question of the exact circumstances surrounding Jara's death helps keep up some suspense -- and Piñeiro nicely adds some twists to Jara's own story that make this more intriguing than it originally seems. While the pacing falters occasionally -- the tight focus on Pablo can be a bit wearing -- and some of the elements don't ring entirely true (especially some of Leonor's actions), it adds up to a pretty decent little thriller, with a nice resolution.

- M.A.Orthofer, 19 July 2013

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A Crack in the Wall: 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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