Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Steven Torres' worlds

Steven Torres' Concrete Maze is a revenge story with two nice twists: the point-of-view character is not the vengeance-seeker but rather his nephew, who both narrates the quest and describes its effect on his uncle. And the tale is no revenge fantasy. Rather, it offers a human and physical landscape (the Bronx and Manhattan) that feels real.

Here's one example I especially like:
"Finding a Carlos in Manhattan was like finding a Bob in Kansas."
The nephew-narrator is both an insider and an outsider, part of the quest for revenge but not its center. Torres' own circumstances may predispose him to such a narrative stance. He was born in the Bronx to parents who had come from Puerto Rico, then moved to a small town in Puerto Rico briefly before returning to New York. Torres acknowledges that the town is part of the background of his Precinct Puerto Rico series. More generally, I have to believe that moving between two worlds sharpens one's ability to both partake of and objectively observe those worlds.

(Torres talks about The Concrete Maze in an interview with Allan Guthrie.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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10 Comments:

Blogger Simona said...

This looks interesting. I like the first quote.
I am still hoping one day they will make the Montalbano movies more available. They recently made a few that feature the young Montalbano, starring a different actor (Camilleri wrote stories about him).

June 07, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

If YouTube is anything to go by, Camilleri is not the guy who created Montalbano, he's the guy who created Catarella. Is the young Catarella better than the old Catarella? I'll leave that to the experts.

And apologies to Steven Torres. He sounds like an interesting writer.

June 07, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Simona, I assume the link Solo posted is from the Young Montalbano series.

The Steven Torres I've read so is interesting: Compelling characters, righteous protagonists, settings in a culture that may unfamiliar to outsiders, but without getting preachy, exotic, or anthropological.

June 07, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, here’s a post I made some time ago about highlight reels of the old Catarella. There's no need to leave matters in the hands of experts.

June 07, 2012  
Anonymous E A M Harris said...

This sounds like a really interesting story. I've never read anything by Torres before, but now I'll look out for him. Thank you for posting.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Jerry House said...

I'm in the process of reading the Torres novels in order. He's quickly becoming one of my favorites.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

E.A.M., Torres writes about settings and from perspectives not often seen in crime fiction, and he does a good job of it.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jerry, I could not find the first Precinct Puerto Rico novel as an e-book, so I've started with the second in the series.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Jerry House said...

Peter, That's what is so wonderful about Interlibrary Loans.

June 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If one is patient enough to wait them out. My library has Precinct Puerto Rico (both the title of the first novel in the series and the umbrella name for the entire five-book series), so I'll head over there sometime after I finish reading the second book.

June 08, 2012  

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