Sunday, 15 May 2016

Review: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Title: Perfect Days
Author: Raphael Montes
Translated By: Alison Entrekin
Publisher: Penguin Press
Pages: 272
Genres: Psychological Thriller

Perfect Days
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of Brazil’s most celebrated young crime writer.

Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn’t have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice. She’s almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she’s working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo is obsessed. He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he digs himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can’t get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together.
A bizarre and very compelling read, Perfect Days gripped my attention from start to finish. The story is dark but it is not anything particularly shocking, at least not for me. Teo is beyond creepy as a disturbed medical student and I was morbidly interested in how his mind worked. As for the victim Clarice... I don't think a stupider character exists, there was one part in particular that I just couldn't believe.

The ending of Perfect Days was something I could never have predicted and I couldn't quite believe the book ended that way. It was seriously messed up; I have mixed feelings about it but it is definitely original. The book is a quick read so I would definitely recommend it for the ending which alone is worth four stars at least.

I believe this is Raphael Montes' first book to be translated into English and I must confess I found the way it had been written a tad 'off' at some points. It is almost like I could tell when something has been translated badly because certain phrases or sentences were just odd. I can't explain it very well! I was wanting more rich description and world building as I felt like the setting of Brazil just didn't come through enough. I also found Teo's motives a little too 'pure' in his own twisted way and I would have preferred him to be just a little bit more psycho; which sounds like a weird thing to say but its how I feel! Regardless, I would still pick up another one of Montes' work.

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