Fate by Jorge Consiglio

Jorge Consiglio's second book to be translated into English is an exceptional investigation into free will and destiny

Book Review by Anahit Behrooz | 04 Mar 2020
  • Fate
Book title: Fate
Author: Jorge Consiglio, trans. Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch

Penned by one of Argentina’s most prolific contemporary writers, Fate is only Jorge Consiglio’s second work to be translated into English following his short story collection Southerly that was also published by independent Edinburgh publishers, Charco Press. By the end of Fate’s first page, it becomes abundantly clear why Charco Press are such Consiglio devotees, and baffling that the rest of the translation world slept on him for so long.

Fate unravels the tale of two unrelated couples in Argentina, one coming together and one slowly falling apart. Titled Tres Monedas in the original, the English title draws out the uniting thread that weaves through every scene: each character attempts to seize hold of and control their own destiny, challenging the lives they were fated to live.

An almost cosmic investigation into free will, Fate is made powerful because it eschews abstraction, exploring destiny through the quotidian, the minute and the prosaic. Consiglio’s writing aches with poetry through its attention and complexity, yet his style is simple and measured, echoing the determinism of his characters through its deliberate prose. 

Translators Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch do a remarkable job capturing Consiglio’s layered and deceptively straightforward writing, resulting in a novel that encompasses the beauty of the original to its full. If fate is intention, as the novel suggests, then Consiglio is fated for great things. 

Charco Press, £9.99, 5 March