Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato - Book Review

Title: The Tunnel
Author: Ernesto Sabato
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 27th December 2011
Pages: 150
Format: E-book - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction / Modern Classics
Source: ARC from NetGalley




Infamous for the murder of Maria Iribarne, the artist Juan Pablo Castel is now writing a detailed account of his relationship with the victim from his prison cell: obsessed from the first moment he saw her examining one of his paintings, Castel had become fixated on her over the next months and fantasized over how they might meet again. When he happened upon her one day, a relationship was formed which swiftly convinced him of their mutual love. But Castel’s growing paranoia would lead him to destroy the one thing he truly cared about... Sabato's first novel El Túnel (translated as The Outsider or The Tunnel), written in 1948, is framed as the confession of the painter Juan Pablo Castel, who has murdered the only woman capable of understanding him. Sabato’s novels were praised by authors such as Albert Camus and Graham Greene. (Goodreads Synopsis)


This short novel is a wonderful existential piece that drew me in from the first page.

I love the way the reader is taken into the killer's mind, following him as he tries to explain things, only to digress as his thoughts take him elsewhere. Of course, we know from the start that he will kill Maria, but that adds to the tension and we hold our breath during each argument, waiting for the moment he'll snap.

I read this book in one sitting as it was impossible to put down. The characters and storyline are gripping and the pacing is perfect. At times it reminded me of certain works by Camus. Sabato does a wonderful job of disrupting our expectations so that we are constantly changing our opinion of Castel; one moment we pity him and are on his side, the next we are experiencing fear and horror at his actions.

Anyone who enjoys the works of authors such as Camus and Kafka should check out this book.

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