Abril Rojo is a novel about contemporary violence in Peru, told using noir conventions. There is an undercurrent of humor throughout the story, in spite of its serious and grim subject matter. Its main character, the fiscal distrital adjunto Félix Chacaltana Saldívar, is very unaware of his surroundings, living instead within a shallow bureaucratic formalism of laws and paperwork. Set in March and April 2000, during elections, the novel begins with the discovery of the charred remains of a body. Chacaltana finds unusual resistance from the police to investigate the murder and as he tries, obsessively but simple mindedly, to overcome this obstacle, he ends up drawing the attention of the army. What follows is the discovery of a serial killer at large, with gruesome ritualistic murders that represent decades of unrelenting violence.

Santiago Roncagliolo, the author, received the Premio Alfaguara in 2006 for this novel. However entertaining it is, I found two minor problems with it and a bigger one. There are a few grammatical oddities (for example, on two ocassions an incorrect “de que” is present), which seem to be the editor’s fault; however, these are surprisingly few. There are many liberties taken with the judicial system and the history of violence in Peru, which seems odd given the intention of the story; these are not so easy to spot and are so integral to the narrative that can be considered part of the framing of the tale and be overlooked. The main problem, the one I couldn’t ignore, is the extravagant nature of the serial killer’s actions. They fit well within the noir conventions the story uses. However, these crimes are so brutal that they distract from the actual, real crimes that the novel wants to highlight and condemn. As a result, the framework ends up hindering the impact of what has actually happened, of what the author presumably expects us to notice and care about.

That being said, the story is quite satisfying. The ending was so well executed that one could almost forgive the problem I mentioned. I wasn’t aware of Roncagliolo’s work prior to this novel, and will for sure keep an eye on him. Thanks to Rafael Benjumea for suggesting it.

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Would truly love a response to this! I feel that Chacaltana’s character is fantastic; comparable to Saramargo’s bureaucratic fop in ‘El Doble’…very believable. However, I am perplexed, and perhaps my reading skills in castellano are wanting…but how can Chacaltana have all the furniture, mementos, photos etc from his childhood, his omnipresent mother if everything was burned in a fire…i’m confused…this was a big whole in the text for me ….someone put it together…
Puente

A shame Roncagliolo cannibalized “From Hell” by Alan Moore to write this not so good book. It is incredible that even the killer’s motivation is derivative of Mr. Moore’s work.

This is a very interesting question (and I really want to see what other answers you receive). I do not know of any general metatheorems ensuring that what you ask (in particular, about consistency strength) is the case, at least under reasonable conditions. However, arguments establishing the proof theoretic ordinal of a theory $T$ usually entail this. You […]

This is false; take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_set for a quick introduction. For details, look at Kechris's book on Classical Descriptive Set Theory. There you will find also some information on the history of this result, how it was originally thought to be true, and how the discovery of counterexamples led to the creation of desc […]

This is open. In $L(\mathbb R)$ the answer is yes. Hugh has several proofs of this, and it remains one of the few unpublished results in the area. The latest version of the statement (that I know of) is the claim in your parenthetical remark at the end. This gives determinacy in $L(\mathbb R)$ using, for example, a reflection argument. (I mentioned this a wh […]

A classical reference is Hypothèse du Continu by Waclaw Sierpiński (1934), available through the Virtual Library of Science as part of the series Mathematical Monographs of the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Sierpiński discusses equivalences and consequences. The statements covered include examples from set theory, combinatorics, […]

There is a new journal of the European Mathematical Society that seems perfect for these articles: EMS Surveys in Mathematical Sciences. The description at the link reads: The EMS Surveys in Mathematical Sciences is dedicated to publishing authoritative surveys and high-level expositions in all areas of mathematical sciences. It is a peer-reviewed periodical […]

You may be interested in the following paper: Lorenz Halbeisen, and Norbert Hungerbühler. The cardinality of Hamel bases of Banach spaces, East-West Journal of Mathematics, 2, (2000) 153-159. There, Lorenz and Norbert prove a few results about the size of Hamel bases of arbitrary infinite dimensional Banach spaces. In particular, they show: Lemma 3.4. If $K\ […]

You just need to show that $\sum_{\alpha\in F}\alpha^k=0$ for $k=0,1,\dots,q-2$. This is clear for $k=0$ (understanding $0^0$ as $1$). But $\alpha^q-\alpha=0$ for all $\alpha$ so $\alpha^{q-1}-1=0$ for all $\alpha\ne0$, and the result follows from the Newton identities.

Nice question. Let me first point out that the Riemann Hypothesis and $\mathsf{P}$-vs-$\mathsf{NP}$ are much simpler than $\Pi^1_2$: The former is $\Pi^0_1$, see this MO question, and the assertion that $\mathsf{P}=\mathsf{NP}$ is a $\Pi^0_2$ statement ("for every code for a machine of such and such kind there is a code for a machine of such other kind […]

For brevity's sake, say that a theory $T$ is nice if $T$ is a consistent theory that can interpret Peano Arithmetic and admits a recursively enumerable set of axioms. For any such $T$, the statement "$T$ is consistent" can be coded as an arithmetic statement (saying that no number codes a proof of a contradiction from the axioms of $T$). What […]

Would truly love a response to this! I feel that Chacaltana’s character is fantastic; comparable to Saramargo’s bureaucratic fop in ‘El Doble’…very believable. However, I am perplexed, and perhaps my reading skills in castellano are wanting…but how can Chacaltana have all the furniture, mementos, photos etc from his childhood, his omnipresent mother if everything was burned in a fire…i’m confused…this was a big whole in the text for me ….someone put it together…

Puente

A shame Roncagliolo cannibalized “From Hell” by Alan Moore to write this not so good book. It is incredible that even the killer’s motivation is derivative of Mr. Moore’s work.