Home Reading Service

Home Reading Service

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In this poignant novel, a man guilty of a minor offense finds purpose unexpectedly by way of his punishment--reading to others.

After an accident--or "the misfortune," as his cancer-ridden father's caretaker, Celeste, calls it--Eduardo is sentenced to a year of community service reading to the elderly and disabled. Stripped of his driver's license and feeling impotent as he nears thirty-five, he leads a dull, lonely life, chatting occasionally with the waitresses of a local restaurant or walking the streets of Cuernavaca. Once a quiet town known for its lush gardens and swimming pools, the "City of Eternal Spring" is now plagued by robberies, kidnappings, and the other myriad forms of violence bred by drug trafficking.

At first, Eduardo seems unable to connect. He movingly reads the words of Dostoyevsky, Henry James, Daphne du Maurier, and more, but doesn't truly understand them. His eccentric listeners--including two brothers, one mute, who moves his lips while the other acts as ventriloquist; deaf parents raising children they don't know are hearing; and a beautiful, wheelchair-bound mezzo soprano--sense his detachment. Then Eduardo comes across a poem his father had copied by the Mexican poet Isabel Fraire, and it affects him as no literature has before.

Through these fascinating characters, like the practical, quick-witted Celeste, who intuitively grasps poetry even though she never learned to read, Fabio Morábito shows how art can help us rediscover meaning in a corrupt, unequal society.

Author: Fabio Morábito
Publisher: Other Press (NY)
Published: 11/16/2021
Pages: 240
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.57lbs
Size: 7.87h x 5.20w x 0.55d
ISBN: 9781635420722

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 09/06/2021
Booklist 10/15/2021 pg. 24

About the Author
Fabio Morábito was born in Egypt to an Italian family. When he was fifteen, his family relocated from Milan to Mexico City, and he has written all his work in Spanish ever since. He has published four books of poetry, four short-story collections, one book of essays, and two novels, and has translated into Spanish the work of many great Italian poets of the twentieth century, including Eugenio Montale and Patrizia Cavalli. Morábito has been awarded numerous prizes, most recently the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, Mexico's highest literary award, for Home Reading Service. His work has been translated into several languages. He lives in Mexico City.

Curtis Bauer is a poet and translator of prose and poetry from Spanish. He is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant and a Banff International Literary Translation Centre fellowship. His translation of Jeannette Clariond's Image of Absence won the International Latino Book Award for Best Nonfiction Book Translation from Spanish to English. Bauer teaches creative writing and comparative literature at Texas Tech University.