Briefly Noted The New Yorker
Poso Wells, by Gabriela Alemán, translated from the Spanish by Dick Cluster (City Lights). Poso Wells, a fictional shantytown south of Guayaquil, Ecuador, is “anyone’s idea of hell . . . the mouth of the fucking devil.” More than a hundred women have disappeared, but neither the press nor law enforcement cares until a businessman goes missing. The military takes over the town, while editors push their reporters to find leads. The book’s protagonist, a journalist named Gonzalo Varas, combs the slimy tunnels beneath Poso Wells to uncover the mystery. The story is a condemnation not only of the corrupt businessmen and the criminal gangs that rule Poso Wells but also of the violence against women that plagues Latin America’s real slums.