Cover image for Like flies from afar : a novel
Like flies from afar : a novel
Uniform Title:
Que de lejos parecen moscas. English
First American edition.
Physical Description:
204 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Originally published in 2011 by Amargord Ediciones, Spain, as Que de lejos parecen moscas.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
"A loathsome and hilarious Argentinian oligarch, innocent of nothing except murder, finds an unidentifiable corpse handcuffed in the trunk of his car, and must find a way to keep out of jail"--


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"This novel should come not with blurbs but with a hazardous-material warning: There's bone and gristle here, be ready for that taste in your mouth you can't spit out . First words to last, it's strong stuff." --James Sallis, author of Drive

The first novel to appear in English by the "subway janitor by night, novelist by day," who began his writing career while an undocumented immigrant in the United States, Like Flies from Afar will demonstrate why K. Ferrari is already an award-winning star of international crime fiction. A hardboiled noir thriller, a whodunit, a black comedy, and a filthy catalog of the excesses of wealth, this is a Jim Thompson novel for the globalized world.

Mr. Luis Machi is an unforgettably loathsome and hilarious Argentinian oligarch who made his fortune collaborating with the worst elements of society--parasites, pushers, and secret policemen. He has a cocaine habit, a collection of three hundred ties, ten million dollars in the bank, and a bloody corpse in the trunk of his BMW . . . but as far as the body goes, he's completely innocent. He has no idea who the victim could be, or who among his many, many enemies might be trying to frame himfor murder, and he doesn't have much time to find out . . .

The profane and uproarious Like Flies from Afar follows Machi through twenty-four hours of his eventful life--one full day in which to solve this mystery, or at least to make sure he isn't the one to take the fall.

Author Notes

K. Ferrari was born in Buenos Aires in 1972. He is the author of several novels, including Like Flies from Afar , collections of short fiction, and a book of nonfiction. Ferrari works as a janitor for the Buenos Aires metro at the Pasteur-Amia station on line B. In the 1990s, he was deported from the United States, where he and his wife were trying to find work.

Adrian Nathan West is a writer and literary critic based in Spain. He has translated more than twenty books, among them Rainald Goetz's Insane and Sibylle Lacan's A Father: Puzzle

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Argentinian author Ferrari, who works as a janitor at a Buenos Aires metro station, makes his English-language debut with an enthralling hard-boiled thriller centering on 24 hours in the life of Argentinian oligarch Luis Machi. After a cocaine-fueled tryst, Machi blows a tire on the drive home. He suspects the three spikes in his tire to be a deliberate act by someone familiar with his routine. On opening the trunk to get out the spare, Machi discovers an unidentifiable dead body handcuffed, with a single gunshot wound to the head. The likely murder weapon, the Glock he keeps in his glove compartment, is missing one bullet. Ferrari tightly crafts an intense, noir narrative crosscutting between Machi's struggle to dispose of the body and evidence without authorities noticing and vignettes featuring the considerable number of enemies, including bitter employees and jilted family members, who would go to this extreme for retribution. Those looking for a finely honed, pitch-black crime novel will be rewarded. With any luck, the author will soon be able to give up his day job. (Mar.)

Kirkus Review

A darker shade of absurdist noir featuring an Argentine businessman, as contemptible as he is successful, who finds his life inexplicably falling apart.The opening of this short novel finds Mr. Machi in the afterglow of a fellatio-induced, cocaine-driven orgasm, luxuriating in his obscenely opulent success, as he prepares to take a drive. "He doesn't need to wonder what success is, because he can feel it in the potent purr of the accelerator beneath his right foot, in the cushioned upholstery, in the power steering, in the sunlight and the stares of astonishment and envy reflecting off the BMW's gloss finish," writes Ferrari, who works as a subway-station janitor in his native Buenos Aires after having been deported from the United States in the 1990s. This is his first work to be translated into English, and it could pass as a madcap mixture of Kafka, Bukowski, and Jim Thompson. In quick order, the corrupt, politically connected Mr. Machi finds his tire sabotaged and his trunk somehow occupied by a corpse whose face has been mutilated beyond recognition. Then more clues seem to link Mr. Machi himself to the murder. He has no idea who the victim is, who the perpetrator was, or why he has been targeted. The book follows his efforts over one day to dispose of the body and the evidence and to discover the motive and culprits. He "feels there's no bottom to the pit he's fallen into," and his attempts to dig himself out find him falling deeper in. He believes he has no enemies, but as he ponders his predicament, it appears to the reader that pretty much everyone he knows could have wished him illhis wife and their children, his employees and partners, his rivals. His daughter's boyfriend is a writer who supports himself with menial work (like the author) and has plans to write a detective novel much like this one, in which Mr. Machi would be the protagonist "and terrible things would happen to him."Though ultimately unsatisfying as a mystery, it works as an existential parable, with a protagonist whose character is destiny. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

When Buenos Aires businessman Luis Machi blows a tire on his beloved BMW, he curses the inconvenience but annoyance turns to panic when he opens the trunk and finds a body. Machi has no idea who the dead man is, but that doesn't matter, anyway: somehow, he's got to find a way to get rid of the body and figure out who is trying to frame him for the murder. Since Machi is generally a terrible person, there are plenty of people wishing to do him harm: his long-suffering wife, his humiliated son, his money-grasping mistresses, the many hardworking employees he's fired in arbitrary fits of rage, the drug cartel, or someone connected to the good old days when he collaborated with the death squads. Ferrari's English-language debut offers sharp social commentary, pitch-black humor, and a twist on the classic frame-up; his unsympathetic and cluelessly entitled narrator leaves readers with little choice but to align with a killer who leaves bodies in trunks.--Christine Tran Copyright 2020 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This short novel, Argentinian writer Ferrari's first to appear in English, introduces Luis Machi, an oligarch of vulgar habits and loathsome tastes, who gets a flat while driving his $200,000 BMW. It's not an accident. Someone has put caltrops on the road, knowing Luis would drive across them and destroy his tires. When he opens his trunk to find a replacement, inside he discovers a very dead, very messy corpse. His goal is get rid of the body, clean up the car and clothes, and hide any evidence of anything ever happening to him. With so many enemies, the effort to figure out who set him up is fruitless, and every step he takes makes things worse. VERDICT This amazing mix of crime novel and detective story--think Jim Thompson--is even more of a nightmare--think Kafka--stunning in its power and originality. It should entice foremost crime noir aficionados, with potential to break out to a wider audience.--David Keymer, Cleveland