Stay This Day and Night with Me

City Lights. Mar. 2023. 188p. tr. from Spanish by Mark Schafer. ISBN 9780872868939. pap. $16.95. F
Shortly after 22-year-old student Mateo runs into sexagenarian mathematician Olga in the public library, he asks her to help him fill out an application for a job at Google. Instead of the customary résumé and cover letter, however, they collaboratively prepare an unconventional paper application; their written transcript and the report of the Google intern recruiter that comprise this book give a metafictional effect to its structure. Ultimately, however, Olga learns she has a fatal incurable disease and travels to Switzerland to deliver the application, but Mateo stays behind, leaving in doubt the execution of his plan of violent revenge against Google. The static narrative flits back and forth between the meager plot and essay-like digressions and metaphysical discussions. Their Socratic method of conversation focuses on topics relating humankind to technology such as the epistemological nature of each and the commonality of communication and connections between them.
VERDICT Spanish screenwriter/novelist Gopegui (The Scale of Maps) relies on an intergenerational discourse defending Google’s avowed altruist purpose against a not very harsh or convincing criticism of its dehumanization, but the often tedious dialogues that serve as mouthpieces for these opposing views lack verisimilitude.
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