About the Book
A hilarious yet dark novel on how power, and the lack of it, shapes people.
Luca’s job is being a punch bag, a tea towel, a toilet bowl, to the undeniable and unbreakable king of egg power proud of averaging two hundred flights a year to visit chicken markets around the world.
Anna moved to Catania to work for caper queen Madame Sicily, fulfilling varied tasks from picking up Céline swimwear before it hits the runways to recovering badly parked Lamborghinis.
La Revolução dreams through buildings but builds parking spaces, when she’s not helping launder money for her boss’s dad’s dodgy charities.
And finally, Carolina is out to conspire with Paquita who met their boss the German in a red lit booth, to understand why the man has to drain the passion out of everything. Their fates will inevitably collide. The question is, will their bosses get what they deserve?
At the office, Macco One’s sickened secretary barely acknowledges me. She firmly maintains that it is sickening to work in our place, Macco One’s place, says that it is not about the chickens but the cocks, ‘Too many big cocks flying around.’ I have never known her on a high. I leave the box of Indian sweets I bought her by the pot plant on her desk and hope that they poison her, ending her ordeal. (Luca)
The thought of my boss’s iron calves ungoverned scares me. Is it panic or an absolute type of anger? Does he know what he is angry about?’ Ignorance about one’s anger can be harder to deal with than deliberate devil. Sometimes I have nightmares where he chops my arm with the drama of a man picking cherries. (Carolina)
I cannot leave the swimwear on the bike. It is a church, Saint Agatha. No one should steal it by the virgin’s gate. But even so. These people cannot help themselves. They all want to look good at Mondello this summer. (Anna)
Irajá, which means beehive, is stunning, very pale with dark hair, so pale you can see millions of small blue veins through the skin of her face and neck, giving her a magical tinge. This is not the kind of woman you can imagine doing ordinary things like shitting or clipping her toenails. (La Revolução)
I’m crying on Paquita’s shoulders yet again. Her jumper is cheap cashmere. She is small and delicate and perfectly proportionate like a kid’s mannequin. And I am totally aware that this is the strangest of arrangements. (Carolina)
She is not Fuksas. Even if Irajá is convinced that in her heart she is a great architect with a social vision. I guess it keeps her away from pretending to be something more dangerous. When she purses her lips, the natives show fright on their faces and for a moment I expect a long viper tongue to come out pushing against her lips. I think they do too… This pale bundle of nerves is so thin and young, must be less than fifty kilos, below twenty five years of age. Any of those native hands could easily crush her to the ground, but they are afraid. (La Revolução)
Read a Snippet
‘I had plans, my son.’ He is piercing me with his stare.
I am not surprised that he had plans. He is a calculating man. But he had not calculated a jerk like me interfering with his plans. I will not say a word.
‘Altania is easy.’ He is getting out a cigar. It’s 9.05. He does not smoke cigarettes but only cigars, and anytime is good.
‘There is a rail project. There is a real estate project. There are politics, big politics. A big Europe-wide program. Very controversial, very hush hush.’ He lights the cigar and the smell is making me gag, but I need to keep my composure. I am a rock.
‘I can’t expect you to understand any of this. They are big people. You are a small fish in a big pond.’
He is pretending that this is all very dangerous and danger excites him. He is starting to sweat. I can see it under his armpits. His shirt is soaked. It is hot in here. What a hell are you talking about, you senile old man? I want to ask him.
‘Big Italian companies are piloting it. We are the pride of Italy! Of Europe even!’
Of course, we are. He is. As mad as ever.
‘We have to help these people.’
He means our workers?
‘No, the suffering of these people is far more real,’ he replies as if he knew what I was thinking. ‘The flotsam of a wrecked world washes up regularly on the shores of southern Europe. Afghans and Syrians land on the Aegean islands. Somalis and Eritreans fetch up in Italy. Have you ever seen one of their dinghies?’
I am truly lost. What does any of this have to do with our poultry equipment expansion plans?
‘We cannot accept that thousands of people die in the Mediterranean sea,’ he continues. ‘I won’t be able to go on holiday anymore. Even the Pope says it is shameful.’
I have never heard Macco One mention the Pope before.
I sit tight. I am gripping my chair. It feels like a monologue is coming, one from a politician or a mafioso or both, and I still have no idea of what he’s talking about.
‘European politicians meeting in Luxembourg this week were hardly coherent. They expressed their horror and set up a taskforce.’ He laughs so hard my body jumps on the chair in front of him. Next he covers my face with smoke from his cigar. ‘At best, there will be some improvements in border security coordination, and they talk of a Mediterranean-wide search-and rescue system to respond more quickly to boats in distress.’ He pauses to pick something from his nose which he sticks under his desk. He finds joy in revolting others, it’s part of creating a hostile environment around him, a safe zone. I fight the need to gag again.
‘But if we save more lives more people will come. The boats cannot be pushed back. Passengers must be brought ashore and processed. Asylum seekers need to be heard and economic migrants should be sent back but it is impossible,’ he has started to raise his voice, ‘and this people are in the majority young, malleable, willing, often speak some English and can learn our language very quickly. Some are fairly educated. Many are ruthless, fearless. And they want to work!’
God, he is speaking of them as if he wanted them as sons. He stands up, visibly loaded with some supernatural force for good.
‘It’s a drama,’ he shouts, ready to save the world. ‘Well, I will give them work!’
About the Author
Mari.Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She studied at Oxford University and worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London, before becoming an indie fiction writer. Also by her, Inconceivable Tales, Death in Pisa, Sour Pricks, A Pack of Wolves, STUP, Mum, Watch Me Have Fun!, Marmotte’s Journey, West bEgg, PHYSICAL, Room 11, Triple Bagger, Opera and the Retreat, all available on Amazon.