Edmundo Paz Soldán: El delirio de Turing (Turing’s Delirium)


The latest addition to my website is Edmundo Paz Soldán‘s El delirio de Turing (Turing’s Delirium), only the second Bolivian novel on my site. This one is set during the 2000 Cochabamba protests against increases in water prices following privatisation, though disguised as the increase in electricity prices following privatisation, in the fictitious town of Río Fugitivo. Much of the activity revolves around code-breaking, as we follow events inside the Black Chamber, the Bolivian equivalent of the US NSA and the UK GCHQ, as well as the employees of that body, the daughter of a current and a former employee of it, who is an investigative journalist, a group of hackers who hack into the Black Chamber and the computers of other government bodies and the global company that owns the electricity company, and a judge on a mission. Paz Soldán comes up with a complicated plot involving all of these, with revenge, deaths, dirty pasts and, inevitably, revelations about these characters and their deeds. While the plot was certainly very clever and made for a good read, I felt he tended to get a bit distracted from the overall political issues – corruption, abuse of power and the nefarious effects of globalisation – and the novel did not compare well with a couple of other novels I have read this year about political protests – Tryno Maldonado‘s Teoría de las catástrofes [Catastrophe Theory] and Zakhar Prilepin‘s Санькя (Sankya). However, as I said in my review, maybe I am expecting too much.

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