The Saint Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires is a book written by Eric Stener Carlson, and published by Tartarus Press. The book was published in 2009.
The book tells the story of a civil servant who discovered the things which changed his life forever, since he finds himself way outside of the logic. Things which he thought impossible, were suddenly possible.
Hidden away in the pages of an old copy of Lives of the Saints in a strange second-hand bookshop is a diary brimming with heresy and claims of supernatural powers. When civil servant Miguel Ibañez stumbles across it he at first believes it to be the ravings of a mad man. But what if it is true? What if the anonymous author has really learned the secrets of controlling time? Could Miguel acquire the same skills and thereby correct the incongruities in his own life?
Trapped in a mediocre job at a forgotten Ministry, his marriage falling apart, Miguel desperately searches for more hidden entries. He is led on an increasingly frantic chase through the bookstores, abandoned buildings and dark subways of Buenos Aires.
Miguel’s obsession brings him to the doors of the Saint Perpetuus Club, a secret society that holds the key to the salamanca, the cave where the Devil grants all wishes . . . for a price.
The deeper Miguel goes, the more he wonders whom he can trust. His wife, his friends, his old philosophy professor? Perhaps they are all members of the Club? Is Miguel willing to risk his life, even his immortal soul, to uncover the secrets of The Saint Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires?
My reading experiences:
The books starts normally enough. There’s this university graduate who is toiling in the government among the bureaucrats, (Which kind of strikes too close for comfort, if you get my meaning.) he finds the diary of a saint, and oh my god everything goes batshit crazy from there!
The saint Perpetuus is a sociopathic sexist, son of a bitch, (And as if it wasn’t enough, he is a bureaucrat too!) who has actually recorded his journey to find the secret to time travel. The diary ended up in the hands of Miguel, he reads the first few entries. But slowly over the course of the book, he grows obsessed with them, tracking the missing entries throughout Buenos Aires.
While most of the time, his search is rather thrilling and dangerous, there is one instant which I must write about here.
So, in a hope of finding the next missing entry of this dubious saint, Miguel ends up getting an invitation to the exclusive club through his professor. Where he finds out it is an orgy club for the bureaucrats. He of course tries to leave without ahem. Losing his virtue, (Not that he has many to begin with,) and it resulted in my nervous laughter.
You have to understand. That Saint Perpetuus in this book, he is a shitty guy. And you only need to read few of his diary entries to know that. I was mostly laughing in amusement while reading his entries, (Or at Miguel’s misfortune,) but that scene halted my amusement.
(Yes, I have a rather twisted sense of humor. There is nothing unique about it.)
One final thing to note here, is that usually whatever media I consume, whether they be books, video games, movies, or anime. They mostly take place in few select location in few select countries. It’s either China, Tokyo in Japan, London in England, or Los angelus or New York in United States. Argentina is very rarely the country of adventure, and so Buenos Aires was an entirely new experience for me.
Come to think of it, Russia is also missing in my entertainment, but what can you do about it? It is not easy to write as a writer, about the country or place where you have never been before.
I like this book. Miguel is not exactly a perfectly saintly, (ha!) character, but then again, I wasn’t expecting one, nor I enjoy reading such characters.
To me, the book is a perfect blend of mystery, horror, and funny moments. It would have been fun to get one final scene with the Saint though, as his ministry’s building is taken out, and to see whether he is trapped in his time loop underground or got crushed by the wrecking ball.
Also, there is actually a Saint Perpetuus in the real life, but he lived around 1500 years before the Perpetuus of the book. And from the Wikipedia entry I read about him, he doesn’t appear to be anything like him, (Which is a good thing to be honest.)
I enjoyed this book. So definitely recommend it. Give it a try, maybe you might enjoy it just as much as I did. Just… do watch out for the orgy club.
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