Born in Buenos Aires, Iosi Havilio is something of a cult author back in his native Argentina, his debut novel Open Door having been highly praised by the outspoken and influential writer Rodolfo Fogwill and by the most influential Argentine critic, Beatriz Sarlo.
His story follows an anonymous narrator; after the disappearance of her partner she drifts from Buenos Aires to a small town on its outskirts, a town named after its psychiatric hospital, Open Door. Havilio reveals to Latineos: ‘There is an anecdote which I like to think of as the starting point of the story. When I was eight years old my father took me on vacation and we went through a small town called Open Door. He told me that nearby was a hospital for the mentally ill where the inmates were free to go about the place. I was frustrated because we did not stop to visit it. Hence, I was prompted to imagine a place where crazy people could walk in and out without restrictions. For many years, I remembered this fantasy of a dark, gothic and miraculous village. In addition, my later readings, experiences and obsessions contributed to my writing of the story. There was no plan or any clear purpose behind it. The novel is pure invention, much in the same way as the memory of my childhood voyage probably is.’
With comparisons being made to Murakami, Camus and Kafka, this is one debut author making big waves in literary circles.