Told entirely in dialog, "Hi, This Is Conchita" is a virtuosic comic novella about men pushed past their breaking point—and the women who drive them crazy. Peru’s heir to the incisive social literature of Mario Vargas Llosa weaves a complex tale of an office worker hiring a hitman to kill his mistress, a man leaving feverish messages on his beloved’s answering machine, and a phone sex worker whose client is literally crazy about her.
The three stories that follow reveal Roncagliolo’s masterful range. “Despoiler” is the claustrophobic tale of a Carnival in Barcelona that brings one middle-aged woman face-to-face to her childhood demons. “Butterflies Fastened with Pins” is the perversely comic account of a man whose friends keep killing themselves. And “The Passenger Beside You” is a surreal story narrated by a woman with a gaping bullet wound right through her heart.