Tuesday August 17th: OSOS en Buenos Aires Herald

A book for sleepless readers

For most children, going to sleep can seem boring – there’s so much that they want to do. Others, instead, have trouble falling asleep because they feel scared or worried. A kid might be afraid of the dark or might not like being alone. Some kids even suffer from insomnia. So what can parents do if that happens?

In Diego Vecchio’s latest novel, Osos, Estrella Gutiérrez is a tired mother whose son Vladimir keeps her awake every night. No matter what she does, Vladimir is always restless and never willing to go to bed. Just when Estrella is about to collapse, after months of sleepless nights, she decides to go to the nearest toy store to buy a teddy bear.

The shop assistant offers her the latest trend in teddy bears — a Chinese stuffed bear called “Sueño Feliz” (Happy Sleep). The funny thing about this toy is that it is not a sleepy bear, but one who can’t sleep.

Thus –the shop seller explains–, when the child awakes his mother at night because he can’t sleep, the mother has to give him the “Happy Sleep” bear and tell him, “There’s a little fellow I know who can’t sleep either, why don’t you help him get some sleep?” The child then has to tell a story to his teddy bear, get him a glass of water, go with him to the toilet and do other things to get him to go to sleep.

Dazzled by the description of this amazing teddy bear, Estrella wants to get one for her son. The shop staff tells her that she can even choose a teddy bear with a specific cause for insomnia: tooth-ache bear, afraid-of-the-dark bear, jealous-of-his-newly-born-brother bear, peeing bear…

But there’s a long queue of sleepless parents before her who want to get the special bear too. Suddenly, there are no “Happy Sleep” bears left to buy… Estrella struggles amidst all the adults but can’t secure one. When she is about to go back home, she spots a teddy bear in a box of defective toys. She tries to buy the teddy bear anyway, but the shop sellers doesn’t let her do so.

So she grabs the bear and hides it under her jacket. She’s so desperate that she commits robbery from the first time in her life.

When she arrives back home, she puts her children to sleep, as she does every night, and, some minutes later, Vladimir wakes her up because he can’t sleep. Only this time, she has got a secret weapon – the sleepless bear. Things are about to change. Yet things are not what they seem, and this teddy bear is not as innocent as it appears to be.

Diego Vecchio was born in Buenos Aires in 1969. He’s been living in Paris since 1992. Vecchio published the novel Historia calamitatum in 2000, an essay book on Macedonio Fernández in 2003 and the short story collection Microbios in 2006.

Osos is highly recommendable. This imaginative story is told in a funny and clever way that makes the novel very enjoyable. The dialogues between the main character, Vladimir, and his bear are memorable, and the whole writing style at times reminds us of César Aira.

If literature is for sleepless people, then this book is for you.

Ana Laura Caruso

Buenos Aires Herald



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DIEGO VECCHIO, Buenos Aires, 1969. Reside en Paris desde 1992.

Publicó "Historia calamitatum" (Buenos Aires, Paradiso, 2000), "Egocidio: Macedonio Fernández y la liquidación del yo" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2003), "Microbios" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2006) y "Osos" (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo, 2010).

Contacto: dievecchio@gmail.com

agosto 2010
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