The Jewish Son by Daniel Guebel
Translator: Jessica Sequeria
A breathtaking short novel about the complicated feelings of hate and pity in familial love by an acknowledged Latin American master.
A brilliant and dark tour de force, Jewish Son presents the delicate archeology of the stubbornness of a boy who demands his parents’ attention. It is a brutal confession of the lies necessary to win a space of approval in a troubled family, a treatise on the excesses of love and the paradoxical lack of affection that is never enough, an accomplished narration of childhood from the point of view of the adult gaze, and a rewriting of Kafka’s Letter to His Father.
As his father’s imminent death becomes an ever more concrete reality with surgeries, caregivers, sedatives and his mother grows obsessed with visits to the rabbi and amasses saint cards and Buddhist prayers, the narrator evokes the remnants of the rejection that pervaded his childhood.
Without yielding to the idealization of youth or to the delight in pain before physical decay and death, Guebel dissects, beautifully although with discomfort, his very early conversion to the dream of literature as an act of reparation.
Year first published: 2023