Thursday, March 1, 2018

the last book I ever read (Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's The Angst-Ridden Executive, excerpt four)

from The Angst-Ridden Executive (A Pepe Carvalho Investigation) by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán:

The valve on the pressure cooker had stopped hissing. Biscuter’s execrations reached Carvalho at about the same time as the first shouts from the Ramblas. Within seconds the street outside became a nocturnal corral packed with stampeding humans. The riot squad swept down the street like so many lead soldiers, with their truncheons raised. All of a sudden, as if moved by a collective clockwork, they all paused, and the fleeing demonstrators slowly regrouped, their numbers reduced, but still sufficiently numerous for someone to start shouting, ‘Amnesty—free the prisoners!’ and for the crowd to advance defiantly towards the police again. Another charge. A Molotov cocktail exploded among the front ranks of the police, and the logical structure of their charge suddenly disintegrated. The controlled anger of the riot squad was now replaced by a destructive fury.

As the police passed by, innocent bystanders were felled by truncheons, and the riot cops with their tear gas and rubber bullets fired after the fleeing demonstrators. The noise of a gunshot set Carvalho’s nerves on edge as he watched from the window. The police stopped and turned round to look down alleys and up at people’s windows. One of them fired a rubber bullet at the front of a building, and people closed their shutters and balcony doors as if in expectation of a sudden downpour. Carvalho left his shutters slightly ajar, and witnessed a stylized charge and fragmented movements as the forces of order passed in front of the restricted viewpoint of the crack in his shutters.

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