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 fake 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, overlooking faulty grammar from the narration since the characters speak that way; 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.

I am not sure which statement you heard as the "Ultimate $L$ axiom," but I will assume it is the following version: There is a proper class of Woodin cardinals, and for all sentences $\varphi$ that hold in $V$, there is a universally Baire set $A\subseteq{\mathbb R}$ such that, letting $\theta=\Theta^{L(A,{\mathbb R})}$, we have that $HOD^{L(A,{\ma […]

A Wadge initial segment (of $\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$) is a subset $\Gamma$ of $\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$ such that whenever $A\in\Gamma$ and $B\le_W A$, where $\le_W$ denotes Wadge reducibility, then $B\in\Gamma$. Note that if $\Gamma\subseteq\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$ and $L(\Gamma,\mathbb R)\models \Gamma=\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$, then $\Gamma$ is a Wadge initial se […]

Craig: For a while, there was some research on improving bounds on the number of variables or degree of unsolvable Diophantine equations. Unfortunately, I never got around to cataloging the known results in any systematic way, so all I can offer is some pointers to relevant references, but I am not sure of what the current records are. Perhaps the first pape […]

Yes. Consider, for instance, Conway's base 13 function $c$, or any function that is everywhere discontinuous and has range $\mathbb R$ in every interval. Pick continuous bijections $f_n:\mathbb R\to(-1/n,1/n)$ for $n\in\mathbb N^+$. Pick a strictly decreasing sequence $(x_n)_{n\ge1}$ converging to $0$. Define $f$ by setting $f(x)=0$ if $x=0$ or $\pm x_n […]

(1) Patrick Dehornoy gave a nice talk at the Séminaire Bourbaki explaining Hugh Woodin's approach. It omits many technical details, so you may want to look at it before looking again at the Notices papers. I think looking at those slides and then at the Notices articles gives a reasonable picture of what the approach is and what kind of problems remain […]

The study of finite choice axioms is quite interesting. Besides the reference given in Asaf's answer, there are a few papers covering this topic in detail. If you can track it down, I suggest you read MR0360275 (50 #12725) Reviewed. Conway, J. H. Effective implications between the "finite'' choice axioms. In Cambridge Summer School in Mat […]

I feel this question may be a duplicate, because I am pretty certain I first saw the paper I mention below in an answer here. You may be interested in reading the following: MR2141502 (2006c:68092) Reviewed. Calude, Cristian S.(NZ-AUCK-C); Jürgensen, Helmut(3-WON-C). Is complexity a source of incompleteness? (English summary), Adv. in Appl. Math. 35 (2005), […]

The smallest such ordinal is $0$ because you defined your rank (height) inappropriately (only successor ordinals are possible). You want to define the rank of a node without successors as $0$, and of a node $a$ with successors as the supremum of the set $\{\alpha+1\mid\alpha$ is the rank of an immediate successor of $a\}$. With this modification, the smalles […]

The perfect reference for this is MR2562557 (2010j:03061) Reviewed. Steel, J. R.(1-CA). The derived model theorem. In Logic Colloquium 2006. Proceedings of Annual European Conference on Logic of the Association for Symbolic Logic held at the Radboud University, Nijmegen, July 27–August 2, 2006, S. B. Cooper, H. Geuvers, A. Pillay and J. Väänänen, eds., Lectu […]

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.