– by Kristen Blank
The Extraordinary Event of Pia H., who turned to admire a chicken on the Plaza Mayor is by far one of the most intriguing novellas (and compelling titles) I’ve read in a while. The dark and mysterious undertones in the writing pulled me and as the story unravelled, I found myself more and more curious about how things would turn out!
Pia H., while on vacation with her husband in Spain, turns to admire a chicken, a russet chicken to be exact; in the next moment, she is gone. Why and how did Pia disappear? Is it a miracle or to be expected from an unhappily married woman? These are the questions which plague the reader and goad them further in the strange and morbid world painted by Vulpe. We follow Pia’s confused and lost husband as he runs around Europe like a chicken with its head cut off (too much?).
While I wasn’t a huge fan of his aimless café European meanderings, what shone for me was the mysterious side narration. The details about deep sea exploration complemented the feeling of loss felt by Pia’s husband and the emptiness that can be found with the loss of love or in the deep void. Both characters are just trying to find themselves and what it means to be defined as a person, without anyone else’s help. A very worthwhile lesson to learn, and in a unique and unexpected package.
An extraordinary tale indeed!