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  • Gabriela Aleman

Capsule Reviews The Arkansas International


Making her debut in the English language, Gabriela Alemán’s Poso Wells (translated from the Spanish by Dick Cluster) is a darkly comedic, wildly energetic, and relentlessly intrepid bricolage of genres whose narration expertly cycles a unique roster of characters. Although not found on any map, since “The last time anyone did a topographical survey, that huge mass of mud dredged from the estuary was still part of the river,” the Cooperative of Poso Wells transforms into a boisterous political battleground every election season. And, why is that? Simple: from the hope of potentially tapping its well of “Hundreds of thousands of votes,” through empty promises and the distribution of false hope. During one campaign, a histrionic presidential frontrunner and his elite are all electrocuted on stage, leaving only Vinueza, his remaining competitor in the race for the presidency, alive—though moments after the tragedy, he mysteriously vanishes. Vinueza isn’t the only person missing from Poso Wells—women routinely disappear. When the fervent columnist Gonzolo Varas catches wind of this, he sets out to uncover the truth. The story unfolds from here peppered with rambunctious, insightful, and poetic dialogue. Alemán blurs the typical lines of story, allowing Poso Wells a far reach to captivate a broad audience, and without a doubt, it will.

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