A new month, and we’re reading “The Chablis and Sushi Miracle” by Guilie Castillo-Oriard.
Just past ten AM Luis Villalobos walks into the lobby of Ehrlich Fiduciary with a thick binder in one hand and a hazelnut cappuccino in the other. He’s already a regular at the Barista place, even though it means a detour.
As you may recall, I was quite complimentary of the opening chapter in this narrative (“The Miracle in Small Things”). Where that chapter was simple, spare, direct, this one is all about complexity and nuance. Here, we’re introduced to Luis Villalobos at work, and his work is anything but sedate or straight-forward. In attempting to ease a client’s tax-sheltered portfolio into the world of increased international scrutiny, Luis pushes his boss, Milena, (you might recall that he slept with her just prior to the last chapter) to her limits.
“Until the IRS learns to widen the scope of their requests, we provide only the information they ask for. Not a goddamn byte more. Are we clear?”
Having put Luis into his place, she invites him to the beach for the rest of the day. They’ll drink Chablis. Surely he will wish to accompany here. He is to be her replacement, well potentially her replacement, when she moves to Singapore after all. I’m reminded of the David Spade character in the U.S. television show, Terms of Engagement. She may not be a tiny testosterone-driven man, but even a beautiful woman can be a predatory weasel under the right conditions. The world of high finance apparently qualifies.
What especially impresses me about this chapter is the ease with which it shifts gears from post-coital awkwardness and clumsy worry to the intricacies of trust funds, financial treaties, and office politics without a beat of doubt. The observations remain crystal clear, the dialogue sharp and true, and the characters as deeply explored as the scene requires. It’s an impressive piece of writing, and the story has me hooked too.
The monster dog’s name is Al, by the way, and, yes, Luis has adopted him.