By Richard Fitzpatrick, Irish Examiner
‘Selfishness’ does something rare for a humorous novel – it manages to render madcap antics with a cool, light touch. And the carry-on is completely preposterous…
Young Colombian Marisol is 10 days from her wedding. She invites a homeless Iraqi psychologist (who gives fine foot-massages) into the home she shares in Madrid with her fiancé, Hugo, a Norwegian speechwriter for ultra right-wing interest groups with an irrational fear of terrorist attacks and a wandering eye for any skirt that passes into his orbit, a weakness that propels his fiancée into stripping on the metro in retaliation.
Mo, the couple’s resident shrink, and the assortment of characters that end up dossing in their apartment, do nothing good for the state of their relationship.
The plot of Selfishness keeps veering in unexpected directions. Madrid, “the city without a sea”, comes vividly to life, although the novel’s greatest strength is its philosophical digressions and meditations on love, for Selfishness is ultimately an unlikely love story, with some wonderful clashes of culture and perspectives for background colour.
At its best, Krug’s writing brings to mind John Kennedy Toole or the rich, giddy language and outlandish characters of Gary Shteyngart’s novels.
Read him and weep with laughter.
Richard Fitzpatrick lives in Barcelona. He works as a freelance journalist, covering sport and features, for the Irish Times and Irish Examiner newspapers and also as a correspondent for Irish national radio. He previously worked in Dublin, San Francisco and Toronto as a features writer. His other credits include The New York Times, Sunday Times and The Herald in Scotland plus other publications around the world.
‘Selfishness’ by Matthias Krug is available at: