This exhilarating debut novel by Sabina Berman – the Mexican playwright, screenwriter and poet – is narrated by Karen Nieto, a woman with autism (who calls herself "Me"). But it is emphatically not a Latin American rehash of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Berman's book glows with its very own enticing charm and assurance. Her portrayal of Karen is alluringly perceptive on many aspects of the autistic condition – echolalia, the quest for sensory arousal, an inability to lie or to understand metaphors. At the same time, the book can be seen as a hymn to "neurodiversity" – the notion that people on the so-called higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum are different, rather than disabled, and are capable of great contributions to society. Karen feels pride in her diagnosis, which she calls "the first diploma I'd ever received in my life"; her gifts bring her success. The gripping plot features international intrigue and kidnappings but there are also memorable characters, poignant dialogue and more cerebral satisfactions – such as Karen's hilarious and touching explanation of her preference for Darwin over Descartes.