"Ten Percent of Life"
(Reviewed by Judi Clark JUN 12, 1999)
Philip Marlowe is back. It's 1956 in Los Angeles and a significant literary agent Yensei Andress is found dead with a terse suicide note. What rings strange is that this man has represented some of Hollywood's best writers, including Raymond Chandler, and the news of his death is buried on page 26 of The Times. One of Marlowe's newspaper's buddies also finds this odd and hires Marlowe to find out the truth behind the suicide. The punch to motivate this investigation is that a witness believes he saw the safety catch engaged on the suicide's automatic pistol. A fact omitted from the police report.
Conteris has written this book to honor Raymond Chandler, his contribution as a writer and as a master of the mystery genre. Between the hard boiled detective story that hints at some of Hollywood black list days, Conteris examines what makes Chandler's novels exceptional. He manipulates this through intellectual dialogues staged between Chandler and his writing friends. Then in an ingenious plot twist he actually has Philip Marlowe and Raymond Chandler interact, a trick that I believe that only a Latin American writer could manipulate with any plausibility.
If you can find a copy of this book, pick it up. You will not only be treated to a good hard boiled detective story, but gain an education on Raymond Chandler and the mystery genre.
(back to top)
Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
(back to top)
(back to top)
About the Author:
Hiber Conteris, a noted Uruguayan writer and intellectual, was a political prisoner in Uruguay from 1976 to 1985. While he was in prison Conteris wrote four novels, a book of short stories and three plays. He was released from prison after the change of government and came to the United States, where he was Visiting Professor of Hispanic-American Literature at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After his arrival, the Governor of Wisconsin proclaimed May 14, 1985, to be Hiber Conteris Day. He is also an honorary member of P.E.N. and recipient of the Letras de Oro Prize,the Casas De Las Americas prize, among numerous other awards.
Dr. Conteris received his doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris and was previously the head of the division of Modern Languages at Alfred University in New York. He speaks fluent Spanish, French Portuguese and English and teaches Interdisciplinary Studies, Latin American Studies and Spanish at Arizona International.
Ten Percent of Life is dedicated to his son Marcos who was killed at the age of 24 while fighting for ideals and for the liberation of Latin America.