Killing the Second Dog by Marek Hłasko

This book was very sad but hits you in the gut. In Israel, two Polish refugees have made it their careers to swindle lonely, middle-aged American women out of money. One man, Robert, is the mastermind of the scheme. The other, Jacob, is the actor who acts out the dialogue to con the women. Jacob is tiring of this game and is just going through the motions as both men try to keep their heads above water.

This book primarily moves the plot along through the dialogue. It’s a dark and little novel about desperate men doing what they need to do to survive. It’s a great little book, but be warned…the dog does die in the end.

But I don’t like the light. I like the darkness, which frees us from our faces and the shadows we cast.

There are many scenes that will stay with me from this book. There are some vivid moments in this book. You can feel the despair of the ‘actor’ who is tricking the mark. It’s hard not to think that the character who tires of this charade is not partly auto-biographical.

I’m not sure why Hlasko isn’t more well-known. He has written some great little novels. They are dark, but deep.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book #25 in my 2022 Reading Challenge

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