Mothers and Dogs – Engrossing Short Stories by Fabio Morábito

The narrator (we never learn his name) and his brother, Luis, have been taking care of their ailing mother. When the doctors want someone to stay with the mother in the hospital, Luis tells his brother not to make the long trip to Cuernavaca. “He said I’d be much more useful if I went to his apartment and fed Noqui, his dog who hadn’t eaten for the last forty-eight hours.” The brother is afraid of Luis’s dog, a Neapolitan mastiff, but his attempts to have someone come with him – Luis’s ex-wife Graciela, or Luis’s best friend, Fernando – fail. The hours drag on and the brother spends more time thinking about the dog rather than his mother. 

Fabio Morábito’s short stories touch on the complexities of human relationships that oftentimes result in decisions that lead to regret. We meet a man visiting his childhood home, but experiencing the present and remembering the past, don’t meet his expectations. In “The Other Side of the Fence,” Jorge tries to retrieve a tennis ball from a neighbor’s back yard and nearly pays with his life. Two men meet at a bus stop, one wearing a corduroy jacket, the other, who is deaf, carrying a doctor’s bag. They keep missing their buses and corduroy jacket is left holding the bag, literally.

In “Roxie Moore,” a group of friends gather at a funeral home to say goodbye to a woman whose profession, as well as her body, holds endless fascination, even after death. Another woman, a Jehovah’s Witness, knocks on a door and meets a man “Lying in the Sun.” She returns and an unusual relationship develops. In “Dutch,” a man finds himself in Amsterdam trying to find a young girl, now a young woman, he had a brief encounter with decades ago. But their reunion is not what he expects.

While many of the stories are almost dream like, we can imagine ourselves in similar situations, making each one accessible and memorable. There’s the man in “On the Track” who winds up in a fight when the lights go out. And the young woman who acknowledges her mother’s writing talents by attempting to recreate her business letters. (And without A.I.!)

Translated from the Spanish by Curtis Bauer, Morábito’s language captures a wide range of human emotions – loneliness, longing, despair, anger, embarrassment, hope and fear. There are no tidy endings which leaves it to the reader to finish the story. 

Mothers and Dogs
Fabio Morábito
Translated by Curtis Bauer

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (650 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.