Juan José Saer, "Baked Mud"

An outcast returns during a devastating drought.

(from Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers)

The dread is pervasive in this story. The drought hangs over every sentence, filling every crack with tension and nausea. The word yellow, describing the outcast’s station wagon and the dust, appears at least once a page. Everybody sees the confrontation between station wagon guy and the man he wronged coming, even if the two don’t see it themselves. It’s an unsettling feeling, being aware of the conflict before they are. The narrator and his fellow townsfolk are essentially struck dumb by the knowledge.
The premise of this collection is international authors choosing other international authors, and presenting their favorite works in English for the first time. This one was chosen by José Saramango.

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