the short story project

The Japanese Garden

Adam Blumenthal On:

The Japanese Garden by Antonio Ortuño

“Jacobo, I don’t want you to think that the servants play with you out of friendship… they play with you because I pay them to.” This is the kind of education Jacobo’s father is giving to his nine year old son: emotional relationships are based on economic transactions. In fact, his father even hires a nine year old ‘prostitute’, Fabiana, because he doesn’t think that his son has enough friends. Years pass. The father dies, Fabiana disappears and Jacobo grows into an adult. Throughout his adolescence he has been obsessed with Fabiana, maybe out of pure sexual desire, maybe because he wants a more real, intimate connection with a human being, it’s not clear. In any case, Jacobo decides to hire private detective after private detective to find Fabiana. What has become of her? Will Jacobo be able to track her down and start to repair the damage inflicted upon him by his father? The story ends with a series of events that only serve to reaffirm the cynical, fatalistic world in which Ortuño’s characters live.