After his chilling dissection of the consumer society and the cult of the individual in A Zero Sum Game, with Black Belt, Eduardo Rabasa turns his keen eye and dark humour on the corporate world, and the pitfalls of believing in its underlying discourses.
Fernando Retencio works as a “solutioneer” in a company headed by the almost totally omni-absent Sr. Smile, who communicates his maxims to the associates through a series of incomprehensible wails issuing from loudspeakers in every area of the building. This, however, presents no problem for Retencio; he alone of all the associates is destined to achieve the coveted black belt, the highest rank within the company. Aided by Dromundo, the Sancho-Panza like caretaker, Retencio tilts at the windmills of his fantasies, blind to any form of ethical consideration.
With a plot that is at times wonderfully hilarious, at others deeply disturbing, and characters including the lounge lizard emcee of a seedy feminist nightclub, a conscience-stricken micro-finance loan shark, and a misunderstood author with an ego of universal proportions, Rabasa’s brilliant second novel takes readers on a journey into a contemporary world where naked ambition, irreality and irrationality, thinly disguised as corporate language and culture, are the order of the day.