In a nameless suburb in an equally nameless country, every house has a room reserved for the president. No one knows when or why this came to be. It’s simply how things are, and no one seems to question it except for one young boy.
The room is kept clean and tidy, nobody talks about it and nobody is allowed to use it. It is for the president and no one else. But what if he doesn’t come? And what if he does? As events unfold, the reader is kept in the dark about what’s really going on. So much so, in fact, that we begin to wonder if even the narrator can be trusted . . .
Ricardo Romero has been compared to Kafka and Italo Calvino, and we see why in this eerie, meditative novel narrated by a shy young boy who seems to be very good at lying about the truth. Following in the footsteps of Julio Cortázar and a certain literary tradition of sinister rooms (such as Dr Jekyll’s laboratory), The President’s Room is a mysterious tale based on the suspicion that a house is never just one single home.
President's Room by Ricardo Romero
Charco Press 2020
Translated by Charlotte Coombe