Flávio Carneiro, in Rio Noir, edited by Tony Bellotto, Akashic Books, 2016.
Bear with me. This may get a little philosophical at the start. We will get to the story.
I would like to suggest that some fiction really is genre fiction and some uses genre fiction. Wears it like a cloak to cover what is really going on. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Jorge Luis Borges' brilliant story "The Garden of Forking Paths" is about a spy doing spy things. But is it a spy story? Not exactly. Is George Orwell's Animal Farm a fable or a political satire that uses the fable form?
Okay. Getting to this week's favorite. A beautiful woman walks into the office of a private eye. Sound familiar?
Detective Andre has an office in downtown Rio. Marina wants him to find a man. Again, still familiar.
But now the ground shifts under us a bit. All she knows about the man is that he has been following her every day for weeks. Now he has stopped and she wants him to start again.
Andre and his sidekick, Fats - or is Fats the brains of the operation? - set out to find the guy. Much philosphizing occurs. Roland Barthes is invoked.
The place where what we might call experimental fiction - those cloaked-in-genre things - tend to fall apart is the ending. Some of these authors seem to take pride in not writing the last page, leaving you wondering what happened and why you bothered to read the damned thing.
Carniero is not guilty of that. I found his ending quite satisfactory, as was the whole story.