Opening with the presently shut-in narrator reminiscing about a past relationship with Delia, a young factory worker, The Dark
employs Chejfec’s signature style with an emphasis on the geography and motion of the mind, to recount the time the narrator spent with this multifaceted, yet somewhat absent, woman. On their daily walks he becomes privy to the ways in which the working class functions; he studies and analyzes its structure and mindset, finding it incredibly organized, self-explanatory, and even beautiful. He repeatedly attempts to apply his “book” knowledge to explain what he sees and wants to understand of Delia’s existence, and though the difference between their social classes is initially a source of great intrigue—if not obsession—he must eventually learn that there comes a point where the boundary between observer and participant can dissolve with disarming speed.
In a voice that favors erudite distance, yet simultaneously demands intimate attention, The Dark
is the most captivating example of Sergio Chejfec’s unique narrative approach, and a resonant novel that calls into question the necessity, risks, and fallout behind the desire and attempt to know another person.