A review of Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza's The Silence of the Rain
Inspector Espinosa of Rio de Janeiro's First Precinct, the chief protagonist and part-time narrator of Brazilian author Luiz Alfredo Garcia- Roza's engrossing and captivating novel "The Silence of the Rain," at first seems an unlikely police detective -- and he knows it.
Forty-two and divorced, Espinosa would rather hunt in used-book stores for works by Dickens or Melville or Conrad than hunt criminals. When he looks in the mirror, he sees not an action-film hero like Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford but "the melancholy vision of Harpo Marx." Much of the time, in his book- strewn apartment or in the rainy streets of Rio, Espinosa is lost in a fog of dreamy fantasy: "It seemed he was incapable of sustained rational thought -- a failing that, for a policeman, was embarrassing, to say the least."
A bookish and lonely man, Espinosa is given to whimsical, touching fantasies:
"Some people, when they get home, are welcomed by their wife, their kids, or by a happy dog wagging his tail. I'm greeted by the answering machine. I'm almost positive that it senses my arrival, hears my footsteps on the stairs, recognizes the noise of the keys, and, since it doesn't have a tail to wag, starts blinking frenetically."
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