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.