The latest addition to my website is Alberto Chimal‘s La torre y el jardín [The Tower and the Garden]. It has become increasingly apparent to me that much that is interesting in the contemporary novel is being written in Spanish and that Mexico is a key part of this. This novel has been hailed by many Latin American commentators as a stunningly original work and one of the best Latin American novels of recent years and I can only share their enthusiasm, only with the caveat that this novel, like other great novels, may not be for everyone. It is set in a seven-storey building in the fictitious city of Morosa, which is a giant brothel. However, though the building may appear to be seven storeys from the outside, inside it is much bigger and constantly changing, moving things around and even managing to repair itself when damaged. The brothel is also no ordinary brothel but one that caters exclusively for rich clients who want to have sex with animals. The brothel contains a whole menagerie of animals, from fleas and ants, to tigers, via lemmings and platypuses, to satisfy the odd tastes of the rich. (Fortunately, Chimal gives few descriptions of what actually goes on.) We learn the history of the building and what is going on both with the management and the clients and their strange tastes as well as learning about the secret society that inhabits the buildings, the strange scientific experiments and the secret of the garden. We also follow the adventures of two men who get into the building and who explore its interior, in order to learn of its secrets. Unusual, different but also occasionally disturbing, this is a stunningly original work. Sadly, it has not, as yet, been translated into any other language.