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El amante sin rostro

Year: 2008
Editorial: Tajamar Editores
Language: Español, Catalán
Synopsis: Matías Reymond, young novelist and screenwriter for television series, travels for the first time to New York to take a course in literature and to meet up with Isabel, his father’s sister, married to a rich American lawyer. She has lived in the United States since the grandfather of Matías was posted to the embassy during President Allende’s government, and seems settled in her life. Everything dazzles the kid, from the elegant apartment on 86th St., with bookshelves and desks all over the place, to the lyric opera singing classes of his cousin Ana Marie in Julliard, including Isabel’s comments regarding the philanthropy of the rich.

Nevertheless, he carries the weight of a disturbing piece of news: Monsignor Juan Bautista Reymond, the family’s most illustrious relative, has disappeared under strange circumstances, by retiring at very early age into a life of prayer. For Matías the situation acquires a special relevance because of his obsession with a novel by Augusto d’Halmar, regarding a homosexual priest, and because following the bishop’s trail, Romina Olivares, his ex girlfriend from the University of Diego Portales, lands in NY.

Despite the disquieting perfection of the apartment looking out onto Central Park, doubt nevertheless settles in, and Matías turns into a compromised observer of the collapse of that apparent order as well as a shrewd confidant of his aunt, with whom he has created a complex relationship and who hides a secret with Monsignor Reymond, which altered the family’s entire course in the past. Nothing is in truth what it seems, neither in the present nor the past, and Matías senses that the actors of fiction are none other than the novelist’s family.

A novel on the loss of authority and collapse of the fundamental order of things; a novel on the most extreme uprooting of its characters; “discomfort in one’s own skin”. “The Faceless Lover” is at once a crepuscular but an optimistic narration, a novel that witnesses the dissolution of a world through the remarkable image of the scattering of the family library, but also declares the creative possibility of others. With the elegant restrain of means which characterizes his prose, Merchant Lazcano has built a fascinating novel which gives us back the beat of his characters and lead us to ourselves what is it we have turned into.

“After “Blood like Mine”, Marchant has written this fluid and vertiginous novel, which takes place in a city and in a world where there are stories within stories, and everything always has something minimalist, nothing epic… A novel written in all truth, with a gayety, but which at the same time is a settling of scores with notion of being uprooted, of (sometimes) belonging to a family.” Mili Rodríguez Villouta, La Nación, Santiago de Chile

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