It’s as if the lead character of a madcap Hunter S Thompson novel has stumbled into a Graham Greene thriller – that’s the best way I can hope to set the scene for Rafael Bernal’s 1969 cult classic The Mongolian Conspiracy.
I must’ve started reading this 933 page epic a year or so ago. From the first chapter I knew I loved it. And yet it took me so long to actually get through it. I realise now that I didn’t want to part with it.
There is a paradox in all great short stories: they leave large marks that bely their stature. Like a tiny comet crashing to Earth, they are brilliantly devastating forces of nature that make a hell of a profound impact.
Often when reading narratives that decide to play with time, jumping back and forth without warning, I wonder if the book would hold up as well if it were rearranged in chronological order.
There’s a tenderness within Gazdanov that seems to recall Carson McCullers or Anne Tyler
And when the narrative stops on a dime after an ice-cold 97 pages, you’re left wanting more.