the short story project


Kit Maude On:

Insomnia by Oliverio Coelho

Who hasn’t been stuck in a dead end job at one time or another? Many of the initial sensations experienced by the protagonist of ‘Insomnia’ will be familiar: the feeling of inertia and worthlessness, the economic dependence, the strangely symbiotic relationship that can develop with your employer, often based in mutual mistrust and resentment… In this compelling story, Oliverio Coelho takes an everyday situation and adds a large dollop of Gothic weirdness. It is a characteristic aspect of Coelho’s literature that his characters don’t behave quite as you would expect them to, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Instead of leaving his position at the cavernous flat at the first opportunity, his protagonist seems almost to relish the bizarre predicament in which he finds himself, energetically joining in with the confounding game of intrigue and voyeuristic interplay to which he is subjected by his memorably odd employers, Antonieta and Adolfo Voisin. As the reader watches him get gradually sucked beyond the point of no return, they are left in doubt that they are in the presence of a brilliant and extraordinarily original storytelling talent.