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Every Wednesday The Latina Book Club features an excerpt from
an exciting new book written by a Latino author or for a Latino audience.

This week we are highlighting DYSFUNCTIONAL MALES by Fernando Sdrigotti. 
It’s an exciting collection—a little outrageous, a little pathetic but then such are the tales of men.

Happy Reading.  Read Latino.

La Casita Grande

by Fernando Sdrigotti

How would a real man, say Steve McQueen, have reacted? Grabbing him by the neck, pulling him off the wheelchair, and smashing him headfirst against the ground? I don’t think so. Perhaps just graciously hiding the pain on the leg with a handsome grin, leaning against the first available wall, lighting up and smoking away for a while. What’s very clear is that he wouldn’t have stammered a few pathetic angry words — Steve McQueen wouldn’t have released all his passive aggression on a fellow soldier, a comrade, a man, regardless of body ability. Great men preserve their greatness through times of trouble, even if by trouble we understand to be getting hit by a guy in a wheelchair. And, by the way, is it right to say disabled? Is it politically correct to say disabled to a guy you are trying to insult? Is it morally acceptable to say to a disabled man — stammeringly — “I don’t kick your ass because you’re disabled”? Very un-Steve McQueen-like. “What do you mean, ‘look where you’re going’? I don’t kick your ass because you’re disabled!”. So patronising: of course it would set the guy off. It did. It set him off and I ended up walking away fast from the place, crossing the road to avoid any confrontation, or the embarrassment of having people see me being ran over by a furious guy on an electric wheelchair. This guy shouting at me from his wheelchair — the word ‘disabled’ reverberating in my head (not even aggressive enough to be an insult — I should have said spastic or cripple; I would have sounded angrier, more manly).

It was a terrible situation. And yet so easy to avoid: you only need to pay attention to your whereabouts. If your politically correct lexicon forbids the use of certain words, look where you’re going. Since we have become a species that goes through space staring at mobile phone screens it can’t be attributed to chance. The only element of chance in this pseudo-accident is that I was ran over by an electric wheelchair and not a delivery lorry. Steve McQueen should be happy that he passed away before the invention of the smartphone. We are all slowly becoming screen-staring monkeys.

Excerpt printed with permission. All rights reserved by author.

SUMMARY:  DYSFUNCTIONAL MALES is a collection of five short stories set in contemporary London.  A satirical critique of the weaknesses and obsessions of the ‘stronger sex’, this ambitious work of fiction focuses on the misadventures of its characters to explore life and alienation in a contemporary megalopolis.  At times uproarious, at others pathetic and dark, the fables in the collection share a distinctive atmosphere beyond fantasy and realism, inviting readers to take part in an onward flight that could land them anywhere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Fernando Sdrigotti was born in Rosario (Argentina) and has lived in London since the early noughties. His fiction and critical writing has appeared widely online and in print. DYSFUNCTIONAL MALES is his first book in English. Learn more about Fernando by visiting