Some novels grab you from the first page; you begin insisting on quoting line after line to anyone who will listen. Then there are those very few novels that make you quiet, selfish even, and quoting from them begins to seem a violation of the book's wondrous delight. You feel a growing dismay as the number of pages remaining dwindles. "Kensington Gardens," the first of Argentine writer Rodrigo Fresán's 10 books to be translated into English, is one of these rare, exhilarating and hypnotic novels.
The opening lines dare you to read on: "It begins with a boy who was never a man and ends with a man who was never a boy. Something like that. Or better: it begins with a man's suicide and a boy's death, and ends with a boy's death and a man's suicide. Or with various deaths and various suicides at varying ages. I'm not sure. It doesn't matter."
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