El lector anónimo de The Lazy Review of Books tarda dos horas treinta y tres minutos en leer Opendoor y lo comenta en el blog.
Apologies for the delay. Given the season, I've been busy trawling the jobsites in a grimly stoical humour worthy, I think, of The Old Man and the Sea, and then applying, an activity I'm quite sure you don't want to hear any more about. So it's been hectic, and, frankly, quite miserable. It was cheering, therefore, to unexpectedly receive Open Door in the post, via a friend who subscribes to And Other Stories. And Other Stories is quite excellent, and makes me feel rather less desperate about the demise of publishing. Or even, on a good day, faintly positive.
Like on the day I read Open Door, starting and finishing in the 2 hours 33 minutes it took me to travel between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street. It's hands down the best new book I've read all year, with the possible exception of Umbrella. Something this original reads like a whole new form. This isn't a novel which capitulates and feeds the apparent hunger for stodgy plot and sweetly sympathetic characters. The soothing artifice of such straightforward storytelling is largely absent.
Instead, the reader is fully immersed in the world of the protagonist - right down to the flaked-pastry texture of her partner's skin - and almost blinded by this closeness. Havilio dispenses with space and distance, leaving the reader marooned in a dreamlike world of the unexplained and the unconnected. Through this strange perspective he captures, to a quite remarkable degree, the unpredictability and instability of lived experience. And what's more the touch is light. This isn't purple prose; it's clear and uncluttered, an efficient foil for the many opacities of the novel. This matter-of-factness adds a necessary naturalness to some of the odder scenarios Havilio presents, which helps to check any sense of calculated strangeness. With this naturalness comes a surprising readability; Open Door is in many ways a disconcerting, but never a taxing read.
Misjudgements on Havilio's part are rare, although some of the stranger scenarios can stretch the reader's patience a little. One or two of these bizarre happenings have so little connection to other events in the text that they can seem superfluous. Although the dreaminess of the novel is intentional, this too can be overemphasised, slipping into a slack numbness which is less successful. The carefully crafted dislocation can be overstrained too; there are episodes which become almost piecemeal as a result. None of this is really damaging, however, and I couldn't find a flaw half as sustained and striking as the books remarkable accomplishments.