Teenage years are often the most formative of how someone will behave as an adult; The Shape of Bones by Daniel Galera tells the story of how a man was shaped by certain events in his boyhood.
Going on a trip to climb the yet-to-be-conquered icy mountain Cerro Bonete, a man’s impulsive decision leads him to instead travel through the neighborhood he grew up in, Esplanada. While revisiting his former home he’s bombarded with memories from his youth, some of which are positive and enjoyable, but many of which have a sadness and burden to them that he still carries with him today. When confronted with a chance to act in a situation similar to the one that scared him in his youth, he takes action, which then spurs him to more deeply consider himself as a person.
The structure of the story was engaging as it flipped between the past and the present to offer explanations for how this man’s life turned out; however, it took a while for the pieces to connect as two parts of one whole, leaving me questioning the point of the seemingly disparate narrative threads. It was interesting how the main character hadn’t really developed emotionally beyond his formative youth, as demonstrated in his actions and his constant defining himself in relation to those around him well into his adulthood. I did enjoy the fascination exhibited in overthinking the mechanical side of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles working in tandem to pilot the meat vessel that is a human body because it’s something that I have also thought of on occasion but hadn’t ever taken the time to put into words.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.