(from All Over)
As they wake in their rented cabin on the first day of their honeymoon in Chile, they realize, first the wife and then the husband, that they remember nothing of the wedding or reception. Neither mentions this to the other. The fire in the woodstove is dead, the cabin is very cold, and there are a dozen llamas gathered outside. No one told the spouses there would be llamas in Chile.
The llamas, their delicate necks, their long lashes, their great soft eyes–they stare in through the massive bay windows as the spouses shower and dress, make breakfast and eat. The spouses prepare to leave, and the llamas mass in some sort of spiraling formation. The spouses step out the door, and the llamas attack.
Does the wife scream out? Does she panic in any way? She does not. The husband screams slightly, however. The spouses take up thick sticks of firewood from the rack by the door, they wield their firewood mightily, and slowly they drive the spiraling, spitting, biting beasts away, bleeding about the face and head, the llamas and spouses, all of them bleeding. Later the cabin manager will apologize for the incident. It must have been something they ate, she will say.
Strange, beautiful and entrancing. This story has such a distinct version of reality, I almost believe in it. Or I almost believe this is what Chile is like, though I know I shouldn’t. There’s menace and wonder everywhere, but in manageable doses. The place and the situation will never be fully understood, not even by those inside it, one assumes. And the hurt, the mostly unspoken baggage the couple carries with weighed heavy on me, the reader. Once you get into the groove, the story, told in slideshowy vignettes, makes you wanna be there. And the ending — one of those classic future tense epilogues — doesn’t seem so strange by the time you get to it.
I bought the book at Barnes & Noble but you can read the whole thing here at The God Particle.
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