Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro

Elena Knows

Claudia Piñeiro

Set across a single day in Buenos Aires, this unflinching book uses the beats of crime fiction to explore Catholic dogma, motherhood and disability. The combination is breath-taking, as we follow Elena, her body wracked by severe Parkinson's, her movement reliant on medication, attempting to cross the city to investigate her daughter's death. Never pitying, this is a read full of grim defiance, where glimpses of kindness show only a cruel world.


She knows that the train will eventually come out of the tunnel that swallows it because otherwise the subway system would get backed up with trains. But after how long? Later that afternoon? At the end of the day? Before the next pill starts to take effect? Or after? Elena's time is different from the time kept by trains, running underground from one station to another. She doesn't have a timetable. Her time is measured in pills. The different-coloured pills she carries in her handbag, in the bronze pill box with several compartments that Rita gave her for her last birthday.

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