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Open Door [Paperback]

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera , Iosi Havilio , Beth Fowler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 10.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Aug 2011
When her partner disappears, a young veterinary assistant drifts from the city towards Open Door, a small town in the Argentinean Pampas named after its psychiatric hospital. Embarking on a new life in the country, she finds herself living with an ageing ranch-hand and courted by an official investigating her partner's disappearance. She might settle down, although a local girl is also irresistible ...This evocative, atmospheric book makes a quiet case for the possibility of finding contentment in unexpected places, with unexpected people.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: And Other Stories; Reprint edition (10 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908276037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908276032
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 642,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Look out for Open Door by the much-praised Iosi Havilio.' Boyd Tonkin, The Independent 'Iosi Havilio's remarkable first novel brings news of an intriguing world' Martin Schifino, The Independent -------- 'With minimalist beauty and exquisite strangeness, Iosi Havilio offers a mesmerising addition to the literature of solitude.' Chloe Aridjis -------- 'An ambiguous tale that verges on dark comedy - With skill and subtlety, the novel hints that a whole society might labour under an illusion of liberty.' The Economist -------- 'Deliberately unshowy, so that plot twists can unfold in the quietest ways.' Fatema Ahmed, Prospect -------- 'There is a lot of sex and violence in Open Door, but it is never gratuitous. - You have in your hands a masterpiece.' Oscar Guardiola-Rivera -------- 'There's no spoiling Open Door, Iosi Havilio's enigmatic first novel - readers will have a hard time leaving Open Door.' The Revew of Contemporary Fiction -------- 'A moving and highly original novel. A good translation is one that convinces as a work in its own right. That is what we get here.' Margaret Jull Costa, In Other Words (journal of the British Centre for Literary Translation) -------- 'Havilio handles the narrator's listlessness with remarkable dexterity and maintains the reader's attention throughout - a novel which will flourish under many re-readings.' Annabella Massey, Cadaverine -------- 'Open Door really surprised me, it doesn't obey any of the laws of reading, it feels like it sprang out of nowhere.' Beatriz Sarlo, Perfil -------- 'Open Door is not a choral novel but a series of solitary songs sung in intimate keys. It contains a tale to mull over, a story not easy to forget.' El Pais -------- 'Living, some say, is much easier than thinking about life. This seems to be the almost unconscious guiding force that drives the heroine of Open Door, Iosi Havilio's first book; a sober, restrained novel through which his mature craft shines.' Susana Rosana, Clarin -------- 'His opera prima touches nerves in the literature and history of his country, themes such as absence, identity and the conflict between city and country; but the style is unusual, a virtuoso display of muted prose. [...] Havilio may well be an attentive reader of Camus: a barely lyrical phrase such as "I flop onto my back in the grass and the sky renders me speechless" recalls The Outsider. [...] The internal variety, the technical command, the originality of the setting and the freshness of the voice are all worthy of mention.' Martin Schifino, Revista del Libro -------- 'Open Door is a confusing, bewildering, riveting book; a paen, of sorts, to both the pursuit of solitude and the futility of that pursuit.' Eleutherophobia -------- 'The story, despite its setting in peaceful, rural Argentina, takes twists and turns, sways between sanity and insanity, between the want for peace and calm and the search for excitement, and always circles around the void of the big question: what happened to Aida?' Rebecca Dewald, Books of the Year 2013, Glasgow Review of Books -------- 'Havilio is a clever writer but he doesn't forget that, first and foremost, good writing must be readable and enjoyable. This novel is both.' The Lone Reader 'This surreal novel is both dense enough and short enough to warrant re-readings and will especially appeal to fans of the TV series Twin Peaks.' Publishers Weekly -------- 'Open Door includes two of my favorite subjects in literature: Argentina and insane asylums.' Three Percent

About the Author

Iosi Havilio was born in Buenos Aires in 1974. Open Door is his first novel. His second novel is Estocolmo (Stockholm). Originally published in Argentina, both have now been issued in Spain. Beth Fowler was born in Inverness in 1980 and lives in Glasgow. She has spent time in Chile as an English teacher and is now a full-time translator. In 2010 she won the inaugural Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the plains of Argentina 6 Nov 2011
By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER
The unnamed narrator of "Open Door" is a veterinary assistant who finds herself in the small country town of Open Door after her girlfriend mysteriously disappears in Buenos Aires. In this dream-like novel, told in the present tense, the great plains of the Pampas are vividly evoked as the narrator aimlessly spends her days having sex, taking drugs, and researching the history of Open Door, the mental hospital after which the town is named.

This is a compelling novel with some powerful and unsettling scenes. Disturbing incidents are revealed to the reader but never explained, injecting the hazy atmosphere of the plains with the feel of a nightmare. The narrator seems removed from the reader: she is historyless and affectless, describing what emotions she does feel in a simple unadorned way. Oscar Guardiola-Rivera in his afterword describes "Open Door" as a novel in which 'there are only appearances' and 'the story remains in the surface', I agree with him and I think this is an aspect of the book which might divide readers.

Despite not being able to truly love this novel I would recommend it, and I hope that its sequel, which Havilio is currently writing, will also be translated into English. Finally, once again the publishers And Other Stories have produced a beautifully-presented paperback.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story burning of life 6 Feb 2012
"open Door" is a very powerful story about life happening. The story of ayoung women just unfolds, just happens. Her decisions, her sex, her everyday and not-so-everyday encounters, just happen. The book is powerful in tell about observations and things that happen to the young vet without posing big questions, given good reasons. Still every page fills the reader with small questions and doubts, what-ifs.
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