A man enters a national essay competition, doesn't win, but instead makes the acquaintance of one of his heroes. The narrator of Sensini is a struggling writer who enters an essay competition for some money. When the essays are judged, he finds out that he is in fourth place, and as a prize his is gifted a published set of all the other winners and entries. after determining that the first place winner's story was worse than his, the narrator assumes that the second and third place stories are worse than his as well. However, after reading the third place winner, the narrator is shocked to realize that that was the story that deserved to win, what's more, it was written by one of his favorite authors: Luis Antonio Sensini. The narrator whips up a letter to his hero, just to let him know that he, at least, thinks Sensini should have won. He sends it off, and, to his great surprise, receives a letter in return. Sensini thanks him, but the rest of the letter is about upcoming essay contests they could both enter, and the relationship evolves into two struggling writers tag-teaming for winnings and moderate glory. Sensini, of course, wins more often than the narrator does, but that doesn't bother the narrator. Their relationship grows to involve pictures of each other and their families, and although they never meet in person, they grow close. So close, in fact, that when the narrator hears of Sensini's son's death, he is devastated. The letters become less and less frequent, but the narrator is able to glean that Sensini is leaving the country in order to gain closure over his son's death. With no correspondence to keep, the narrator resumes his pre-essay contest life, slips back into a routine of banalities. Out of the blue, there is a knock on his door; no one ever knocks on his door. It is Sensini's daughter, stopping on her way through town. The story winds down with the daughter telling the narrator what befell of her father after he left the country. He had died overseas, getting closure over her brother.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that is was an epistolary novel; it was told mostly through letters.
Best scene in story:
The scene I enjoyed the most was when Sensini's daughter stopped by unexpectedly. It was as much of a surprise for the reader as it was for the narrator. It helped the narrator gain closure over his hero's unexpected departure.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that the main character, the narrator, is a writer. And I love that he spends a good chunk of time talking to his favorite author; it's a wish come true to talk to your inspiration.