What We Become

Written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Review by Lucille Cormier

Is it a tango? Is it a chess match? What We Become could be read either way: a passionate dance of lovers coming together and separating over a lifetime, or a match where motives are minutely analyzed before each “move.” Mr. Pérez-Reverte has given us yet another work of literary art that is enjoyable and thought-provoking.

The tango and chess are key topics in the story, which begins in 1928 when famed composer, Armando de Troeye, and his stunning wife, Mecha Inzunza, travel to Buenos Aires aboard a luxury liner. Max Costa is the professional dancer onboard. He is Argentinian, a devilishly handsome rogue and perfect match for Mecha as they capture the dance floor in superbly performed tangos. In Buenos Aires, Max introduces the couple to a skid row bar and the “Old School Tango” – a source of inspiration for Armando and tantalizing foreplay for Max and Mecha. Their affair flares, but they soon part. It will rekindle eleven years later in Nice where Mecha waits for news of Armando’s fate in revolutionary Spain and Max’s past entangles him in a double-dealing espionage caper. Battered and hunted, Max turns to Mecha for help. Again they part. The separation is longer this time – until 1966. They are in their sixties now, in Sorrento. The fire between them is tamped, their bodies no longer beautiful. The relationship takes a different turn and propels the story into a suspenseful and, finally, bittersweet ending.

As an enthusiastic fan, it was a pleasure to open a new work by Mr. Pérez-Reverte, and I was not disappointed. The originality, intelligence, and superb writing are all there. Though some of the more introspective passages were a test of patience, the wait was worthwhile for the dynamic action that followed. An excellent read!