Antonio Sarabia ‘The Woman of Your Dreams’

–It is said that justice is blind, Hilario Godínez, and it’s for that reason that it is represented blindfolded but, in your country, IMG_1247justice consists first and foremost of avoiding the blindfold and keeping your eyes wide open in order to spot the exact moment when it is best to look away.***

The Mexican author Antonio Sarabia died last month, and this story, The Woman of Your Dreams, is my first encounter with his work.

This book was read as part of Spanish lit month 2017

This story is narrated by an all knowing third person who addresses the main protagonist, Hilario Godínez, throughout the book as illustrated in the opening quote. The story is set in Mexico where the violence of the drug lords is part of everyday life and where no one ventures onto the streets after dark, giving rise to the name of ghost towns, corrected by Godínez through the voice of the narrator:

–Even if you, Hilario Godínez, for whom semantic precision has become a vice, you believe as it happens that “ghost town” wasn’t the appropriate literary form. It would be more accurate to speak of the town as a “random cemetery”, since either way the next day, on open your newspapers, breakfast includes its daily helping of severed heads and dismembered bodies.***

The book relates two parallel stories, firstly there is room for hope and room for love when, as suggested by the title, Hilario has been receiving anonymous letters from a secret admirer, signed the Woman of Your Dreams, over a fifteen year period, letters which he reads with interest and even waits for eagerly, not being able to work out who she could be. She describes herself as invisible:

–She began by continuing the story of her life at university. In contrast to Descartes, she thought but she wasn’t. And she began her professional life still in this sort of non-existence….she remained invisible to all the people that really counted for her.***

In contrast to this storyline Sarabia presents the desperate and hopeless side of Mexico. Hilario, a sports journalist at the local newspaper investigates the disappearance and violent deaths for no known reason, and without ransom demands of a rich kid and then a famous footballer, with any investigation in Mexico possibly concerning drug lords being next to impossible, but as a respected football journalist he was tolerated. He discovers a drug lord that bribes players to lose matches because he has discovered the difference in market value of a first and second division team and he wants to buy the club cheaply.

Of course he is party to the resolution of the murders mystery but how will the Woman Of Your Dreams mystery end?

First Published in Spanish as “No tienes perdon de Dios” in 2017
Translated into French by René Solis as “La Femme de tes Rêves” and published by éditions Métailié in 2017
*** My translation

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