...Spanish-Argentine writer Andrés Neuman manages to merge disaster, memory, and distance into a single cohesive map ... Like the functional and decorative art of kintsugi—mending a shattered piece of pottery with gold or silver, highlighting the cracks—that fascinates his protagonist Yoshie, Neuman knows that the ways in which we’re broken not only form an essential fabric of our being, but often remake us in entirely new ways ... The translation from Nick Caistor and Lorenza García is to be applauded. It’s hard to imagine a more daunting task as a translator: Fracture combines not only a globe-trotting vocabulary, but also examines the differences between grammar structures across Japanese, French, English and Spanish. Often, Yoshie’s zeal for learning languages plays center stage ... The true difficulty with the novel comes with the manner of the construction. By relying heavily on the direct accounts of those who knew Yoshie most intimately rather than on his own perspective, much of the action is deflated. Even as the novel works to show the true human cost of the disasters that are often condensed to statistics, it’s a point illustrated from a cautious distance ... In Fracture, Neuman sets out to show the loss of global disasters through the frame of the individual. I can’t help but consider the novel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting millions around the globe. That’s the thing about disasters, about tragedy: it feels impossible until it’s happening to you. Now, the disaster is everywhere; though not everyone is affected equally. Living through this disaster as it unfolds only proves how accurate Fracture is.
Reading Andrés Neuman’s nostalgic Fracture, which centers partly on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, could be a fraught experience during a pandemic — and, indeed, many of the main characters’ convoluted feelings are likely to resonate with, and unsettle, the reader. The author’s skill, however, makes this compelling story well worth the emotional investment ... These women could easily have become simply foils for Watanabe’s inner journey. To Neuman’s credit, however, they are each deeply complicated characters with correspondingly conflicted wants and needs ... Neuman has done a masterful job sharing with us what goes on inside his head, and this book is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys examining relationships in the face of tragedy.
A prolific writer, Neuman delights in language and linguistic ambiguity. In Fracture, he explores the fragmented nature of memory, emotional scars, a city’s wounds after a disaster and the cracks in a relationship caused by cultural difference. He draws profound parallels between collective traumas ... poignant lyricism ... Perceptively translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, Fracture is a novel for our times and astonishingly relevant. Radiation, like coronavirus, is an invisible killer. After Fukushima, the official communications about the catastrophe prove unreliable.