Ignacio Camdessus (Buenos Aires, 1975) studied Political Science and works as an editor for multilateral organisations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and several United Nations agencies. In 2013 he founded Sociopúblico, a communications studio with a focus on complex ideas. Circunvalación (Beltway) is his first novel.
Libros del Zorzal, 2014 / 160 pages
“… a novel that breaks with the monotony of current young narrators and their constant lack of interesting stories. It is very weird in terms of set design. It is not the same city with the same narrator to whom the same things happen. Beltway is on the edge of science fiction.” Beatriz Sarlo
In a mock-up city, which could be just any Latin American capital city, Celis is suddenly laid off from his job in an office where data are processed for the government charged with breaching a non-disclosure agreement. With much spare time ahead but little cash, he becomes a regular in a café where he seeks refuge and plans his return to work. But the café is not quite a safe place: enigmatic and seductive, Berenice is a waitress there. Also, Celis perceives that a relay of cars that change drivers seems to be organized from the café, strange boxes are moved around the city, perhaps the object of surreptitious trade, and those same cars are used by officials to travel.
Celis goes to the bank to collect his severance pay and is given fake bills. Distressed by the need to use these bills or exchange them in the black market, Celis will try to preserve the good relationship with his son and ex wife, seduce Berenice, work out the organization of the strange box traffic and, above all, find a job so as to fit back in the city. An agile and powerful novel, Beltway entices the reader with a fascinating setting and an elegant, anachronistic style that strengthens the effectiveness and credibility of its biased, rarefied realism.
Beltway is a little great literary piece that succeeds in dealing with great topics such as identity, adulthood, urban life, routine and the world of labour, and manages to build a hilarious and controlled bureaucratic world, which is both strange and very close to the reader at the same time.
“There may be a lot more truth in some literature or in certain movies than there is in so many other history books, print media articles or TV reports. This is actually the case with some of the most recent Argentine novels. It is this ability to imagine possible scenarios, put the absurd mechanisms of a bureaucratic, paranoid society in the foreground, sense, in the end, some truth from the field of fiction that makes Beltway, Ignacio Camdessus’ literary debut, such an interesting novel.” Maximiliano Tomas, La Nación