Last month I used the conduit of a Russian chess board to illustrate the story of Tolstoy's Hadji Murat. This month, I believed that What We Become/Tango del la guardia vieja by Arturo Perez-Reverte would offer a wonderful respite from our tumultuous times. The book opens with post-Gatsbyesque style, a handsome couple departing on a luxury liner bound for Buenos Aires: tangos, tortoise shell cigarette cases, strands of pearls, sultry innuendo, mystery and suspense ensue.
Next thing I know, the chess pieces are flyin' with variants, compositions, strategies and plots. Soviet chess titan vs capitalist silver spoon boy of dubious ancestry.
More chess! How serendipitous.
However, things get a little too "serendippy" cozy to cable TV of today. Russians, facists, communists, KGB, Franco loyalists and other dark forces are on the scene. A Russian-linked spy laments to our protagonist, Max Costa:
While looking to escape into a fictional world, our book bares open omens of historical warning.
Where's my suave tango partner? I want another Penrod! More cigarettes, please! Waiter, check!
Looking forward to your thoughts.