My Brother’s Gun is a Spanish language novel by Ray Loriga that came out in 1995 as Caidos del Cielo (La pistola de mi hermano) and was translated into English in 1998. In 1997 Loriga directed the film that was based on the book.
It’s a short novel, almost more of a novella, about a young man who shoots a security guard at a store and the fame that he and his family achieves because of the act.
The first thing to comment on is the fractured style. Not only are you dropped into the story in medias res but the story is handed out to the reader by Loriga in tiny, disjointed bits. This isn’t disorienting though and is very skillfully handled with the reader feeling very comfortable taking the morsels and letting the story unfold at its own pace.
By the end of the book the characters have become fully rendered with a minimal amount of words. They feel in some ways familiar and in others completely their own. They are vulnerable and they are tragic. What ever judgments and assumptions we have made about them have been flipped by the time the tragic and inevitable end rolls around. And they are tragic figures by virtue of either not continuing to live or by being irreparably and permanently damaged and or changed by the events in the book.
There is also a satirical edge to the book. A dark one to be sure but it is there. One of the themes that hang in the background is societal complicity and how the news and media cover these sensational stories potentially stoking the fires. That we all want to see this story played out on the national media in an attempt to break us out of some sort of millennial ennui. Whether you agree or not almost doesn’t matter just that it’s being talked about.
Bottom line is that this foreign language noir doesn’t get talked about these days and should as it is very much worth your time.
Embedded below is a trailer for the movie. The film remains un-translated for Anglophone audiences and so the trailer is in Spanish.