The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Translated by Christina MacSweeney) - review by Philip Maughan

Philip Maughan

Bite Marks

The Story of My Teeth


Granta Books 188pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

At Las Explicaciones, a cheap corner-cafe located in the heart of an industrial neighbourhood northeast of Mexico City, a charismatic auctioneer reveals the essence of his art. ‘What auctioneers auction, in the end, are just names of people, and maybe words,’ the toothless dandy, Gustavo Sánchez Sánchez, explains to his new friend Voragine – a disappointed tour guide who likes to walk in open spaces and shares his name with a 13th-century Italian archbishop. ‘You see,’ the auctioneer continues, ‘I’m like those people who scavenge in your garbage. But with pedigree. I expurgate; I find. I aromatize, clean, and disinfect. I recycle.’

What we are witnessing is an act of courtship – a hard sell. But unlike most, Gustavo is not out for monetary gain. He is searching for an artist who will write his ‘dental autobiography’, for, as he sees it, ‘the teeth are the true windows to the soul; they

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