Learning to Lose by David Trueba
Other Press, $16.95, June 22, 2010

With the World Cup kicking off this weekend, it seems like the right time to read a novel from an international talent. David Trueba's latest work, Learning to Lose, even features a young Brazilian soccer player, whose romance with a 16-going-on-30  girl in Madrid is just one of the many threads that make up this multidimensional tapestry of a novel. The two meet in an unconventional manner:

Sylvia, alone on the street, walks quickly to release her rage. Mai's happiness is a betrayal, her tiredness a personal affront. She steps down into the street to avoid any unpleasant encounters on the sidewalk. . . . The ground is dry and the streetlights barely reverberate on the asphalt. the laces on one of her black-rubber-soled boots have come untied, but Sylvia doesn't want to stop to retie it. She takes aggressive strides, as if kicking the air. She is oblivious to the fact that, crossing the street she now walks along, she will be hit by an oncoming car. And that while she is feeling the pain of just having turned sixteen, she will soon be feeling a different pain, in some ways a more accessible one: that of her right leg breaking in three places.

What are you reading this week?

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