Que Nadie Duerma, or Something Is About to Happen, by Antonio Mendez Esparza explores a woman’s gradual descent into madness as she slowly loses the aspects of her life that make her human. In this psychological thriller, through the protagonist’s experiences, Esparza explores the darker nature of human behavior and the consequences of preying on those who are more vulnerable. This theme serves as a morbid commentary on the moral fabric of society. As the protagonist develops an obsession with another character, we see her deal with her self-image and how those around her slowly scavenge the pillars that protect her sanity. Despite its recurring theme about the disappearing line between fiction and reality, Something Is About to Happen holds a sense of realism with its similarities to the real world.
What Is Lucia’s Story?
Lucia, a software developer in her 30s employed by a firm in Madrid, leads a solitary life. Lucia’s only surviving family member is her father, who is aging and requires care, prompting Lucia to hire a nurse to attend to him. Her mother died by suicide on her 10th birthday. This painful event from her past is something Lucia desperately attempts to forget, convincing herself that her mother’s demise was a result of being struck by a raven. This is likely to be a psychological response to shield herself from the emotional turmoil associated with her mother’s suicide. Struggling to come to terms with her only parent’s increasingly senile behavior, Lucia often places blame on the nurse for perceived shortcomings in her duties. The absence of a partner adds to Lucia’s loneliness. A turning point comes when Lucia’s workplace unexpectedly shuts down due to bankruptcy resulting from embezzlement, leading to the termination of all employees. On her way back home, Lucia engages in a conversation with her cab driver, an IT specialist like herself who lost her job during the 2008 financial crisis. The cab driver introduces Lucia to the prospect of becoming a taxi driver, highlighting the benefits of schedule flexibility and self-employment. Motivated by the chance for a fresh start, Lucia decides to pursue this unusual career. She undertakes a commercial license exam and invests in a car to kickstart her journey as a taxi driver.
How Does Lucia’s Obsession With Braulio Start?
One day at her apartment, Lucia is captivated by the resonant notes of opera music coming from a neighbor’s residence. Intrigued, she follows the melody upstairs and encounters a charming man who identifies himself as an actor. The composition is revealed to be ‘Turandot’ by Giacomo Puccini, performed by Pavarotti. The theme of this operatic piece mesmerizes Lucia, and so does this charismatic man, who, when asked his name, whimsically suggests she call him Calaf—a reference to the prince enamored with the Chinese princess Turandot in the opera’s story. A second meeting takes place as Lucia finds him rehearsing on the terrace, leading to an intimate encounter that marks a significant turning point in Lucia’s story. An obsession begins to take form in Lucia, and she begins to look into the enigma of this man. Eventually discovering his real name, Braulio Botas, Lucia’s infatuation becomes more intense. Beginning to lose herself in this fantasy inspired by Turandot, Lucia starts dressing as the Chinese princess, immersing herself in the opera’s melodies as she begins to take singing lessons, and daydreaming about a love story with her own prince. Despite Braulio vacating the apartment, Lucia clings to the belief that destiny, as written in the verse of the opera, will reunite them. This contributes to her developing erotomania, blurring the lines between fiction and reality as she holds onto the faith that her Calaf is in love with her.
Why Does Lucia Become So Fond Of Roberta?
On her first day as a taxi driver, Lucia encounters her first passenger, leading to an enthusiastic conversation between them, as she’s eager to share her excitement about this new chapter. In turn, the passenger, who takes a keen interest in the conversation, learns more about Lucia, who, feeling a sense of familiarity, compares her to her late mother. She opens up about her past, revealing the tragic circumstances of her mother’s death on her 10th birthday due to getting hit by a raven. The passenger introduces herself as Roberta. Their initial exchange about opera leads Lucia to recount her encounter with Calaf, claiming that he will eventually travel in her cab because it is destined.
This meeting transforms into a budding friendship, with Lucia finding solace in Roberta’s companionship. Their encounters become more frequent, and during one such meeting, Lucia even shares the true identity of her Calaf—Braulio Botas. To Lucia’s surprise, Roberta knows of Braulio because of their shared professional background. As their bond deepens, Lucia trusts Roberta with a more profound revelation—she confesses the actual circumstances of her mother’s death, acknowledging it as suicide. To Lucia’s relief, Roberta responds with empathy, fostering an even stronger connection between them.
What Caused Lucia’s Descent Into Insanity?
Lucia’s descent into madness deepens when she unexpectedly encounters her former employer, who, in an intoxicated state, passes out in her cab. Struggling to wake him up, she resorts to dragging him out of the taxi. As an act of revenge, Lucia steals all the money from his wallet and leaves him in an abandoned area. The news of his untimely death due to hypothermia, though she harbored disdain for the man, weighs heavily on her conscience. Her isolation is amplified when she loses her aged father, and the absence of her former colleague and friend, Fatima, at the funeral, with no communication, aggravates her sense of abandonment. Upon investigation, she discovers that Fatima was involved in an affair with their former employer, the very person responsible for the embezzlement case that robbed Lucia of her livelihood. This revelation further fractures Lucia’s trust in those around her, who is already struggling with a distorted reality fueled by her obsessive fixation on the Turandot and Calaf love story.
Why Does Lucia Murder Braulio And Roberta?
During Something Is About to Happen‘s ending, Lucia becomes suspicious of Roberta when she stumbles upon Roberta dining with her associates, including Braulio. Seeing a play advertisement featuring Braulio, directed by Roberta and produced by Santiago, further complicates her emotional state. Santiago, a person Lucia had driven in her cab and shared an intimate encounter with, is now associated with this torment. As the play unfolds, Lucia is horrified to realize that it revolves around her life, with the main character carrying her name. The story of the play not only reflects her tragedy but also turns it into a spectacle, provoking laughter from the audience. Witnessing the public mockery of her personal struggles and personality becomes a humiliating ordeal for Lucia.
Once regarding Roberta as a trustworthy friend and confidant, Lucia realizes that those in her circle have manipulated her. The revelation extends to her intimate encounter with Santiago, raising the unsettling possibility that it might have served as material for their play rather than being a genuine connection. Discovering Braulio as the central figure in the play seems to her like a betrayal, intensifying Lucia’s turmoil due to her feelings for him. Lucia deals with the shattering of everything she once believed to be true. The image of herself as Turandot, the enchanting Chinese princess, begins to crumble, exposing a facade she had constructed. This mistreatment becomes a catalyst for her vengeful thoughts as she brutally kills Roberta and Braulio.
In the aftermath of her actions, Lucia finds herself contemplating ending her own life. As she walks over to the terrace with the intention of jumping, the sight of a raven triggers a powerful memory of her mother’s tragic demise, which happened in the same manner. In this moment of connection with her past, Lucia changes her mind. The memory of her mother’s similar fate becomes a reminder, leading Lucia to reconsider her decision as she walks away. While her eventual fate is rather open-ended, it’s likely that Lucia runs away as she is tired of being exploited by people.