Only Milo by Barry Smith
Milo is a 62 year old aspiring author, eager to woo Margaret, the head of a small publishing company. Unfortunately, Margaret is more interested in his (somewhat fictitious) translation skills. Margaret has recently acquired the rights to the two novels of a young Mexican novelist named Jose Calderon. The only problem is that Jose’s work is not nearly as good as Margaret thinks it is, something Milo can tell even with his lackluster Spanish skills. Since Milo really needs this job and still wants to try to impress Margaret, he has to give her something and it has to be good. Luckily, the plot to Calderon’s novel is very similar to one of Milo’s twelve completed by unpublished novels. When Milo’s ‘translation’ achieves unprecedented success, it seems that he’s on the road to success. Until, that is, Jose arrives on the scene and threatens to upset the whole plan.
I often have trouble with books with unsympathetic characters. Milo was narcissistic and unpleasant with a strong sense of entitlement. That being said, he was so deliciously unstable that I really enjoyed reading his thoughts. Smith nails the angry, slightly crazy old man voice perfectly (perhaps he has spent some time with my neighbor?), so that I felt I was really in Milo’s head and understood when he felt that only the most drastic response would solve his problems. At just 143 pages of short paragraphs, big margins, and terse sentences, “Only Milo” is a very quick read, and one I found agreeably diverting.
You can buy this book from Amazon.
Thank you to Nicole from Inkwater Press for sending me this book!