We all fantasise about strangers (so it’s said). Their complete and perfect separateness from our own complicated lives leads us to improbable and often lustful thoughts from a chance encounter — no matter how fleeting and immemorable.
This concept forms the basis of The Infatuations. Except that however innocent lead protagonist, Maria’s, daily observations of ‘the perfect couple’, she somehow becomes entangled in their lives, unable to resist the itch to step in when tragedy strikes.
The husband, Miguel, is murdered in the street in cold-blood. A seeming case of mistaken identity, an incredibly unfortunate assemblage of happenings… Far from this being the end of Maria’s ‘relationship’ with Luisa and Miguel, her fascination with the couple and now the cause of their untimely separation intensifies. An intrigue that leads to the endangerment of not only her emotional well-being but also her life.
[So that sounded a bit ‘spy-thriller’, I should dispel this now. There’s no eye-holed newspapers or James Bondish gadgetry. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you slice it…]
This novel explores a great many emotions attributed to those dastardly intricate matters of the heart; unrequited obsessions, the viability of purely physical relationships and of course, the beast of marriage. How much we allow ourselves to be affected by others, how we cope with grief in its various forms; and more to the point perhaps, how much we can control our feelings about the situations we find ourselves in and/or the people who lead us there. Can love justify any action?
An incredibly existential and unsurprisingly sad tale at times, I’d recommend The Infatuations but think it could’ve stood to lose a hundred pages or so in order to sustain interest.