Let No One Sleep

Bellevue Literary. Aug. 2022. 208p. tr. from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. ISBN 9781942658931. pap. $16.99. F
In this latest from multiple-award-winning Spanish novelist Millás (From the Shadows), Lucía decides to become a taxi driver after losing her job as a computer programmer. Her conversations with her passengers, a cross section of humanity that includes theater producer Roberta and journalist Ricardo, plus a cancer patient, a blind man, and even her former boss, form the gist of the book’s first part. Lucía is obsessed with reconnecting with Braulio, a former actor and neighbor she only briefly met, and also with Puccini’s Turandot, whose famous aria “Nessun dorma” (the “let no one sleep” of the title) recurs throughout the novel. In her gradual slide into a world of fantasy, Lucía pictures herself as a bird-woman and as Princess Turandot driving through Beijing, rather than Madrid. In the book’s second part, things turn ugly when Roberta, Ricardo, and Braulio abuse her confidences by making them fodder for a play, Lucia takes revenge on them in a macabre and disturbing ending.
VERDICT Readers are forced to suspend disbelief, as they, like the protagonist, are drawn into Lucía’s alternate world and are at times unsure which one is veridical. Millás’s character portrayals, especially of Lucía, are masterly, but the disjointed episodic narration and extraneous elements leave a loose end or two. A disquieting fantasy of the Kafkian variety that’s both unsettling and absurd.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing