(Author: William Hjortsberg) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
1.5 stars… And I am being generous.
Here’s an idea: write a book about Mexico in which you describe the beauties and history of Mexico, the archaeological treasures, the unknown Mexico. DON’T write another book about Mexican thugs, an abundance of drugs, bandits, filth, thieves and other gross and uninteresting things.
I don’t know in what way I was deceived by the blurb, but I honestly didn’t expect a book which relies solely on vulgarity to impress its readers.
A guy wakes up next to a dead prostitute, his wife is missing along with his junkie neighbors, he starts looking for her thinking that she is in trouble and kidnapped, on the way he starts selling his drugs to get enough money to continue his search, he starts messing with the local mafioso types and gets into a lot of trouble. Yadda-yadda. It’s a cliche from start to finish. I don’t know why I even bothered to read it until the end, probably because I felt obliged because I received it through NetGalley. In any case, I knew how it was going to end, through and through. The only thing that actually surprised me was that there was not even one surprise in the end.
I’d like to mention that I think the author has a good writing style, his thoughts flow smoothly and there’s nothing awkward about the narrative. The story itself, however, was a total shite. I’m serious. VERY serious. I actually ended up with a lot of questions, which on their own can tell you what this book is like.
1. Why is the book set in the damned past? So that the murderers can’t be found through DNA? Because it was easier getting into Mexico? To explain the excessive use of drugs? Why the hell?
2. Why is half the narrative in Spanish, when the narrator is an American? Why is his wife also using Spanish words when she is speaking English? In what universe does this make sense? And how are the readers supposed to understand it? Because most authors who try to look smart by writing in two languages simultaneously at least translate. No such thing here.
“After the pescado blanco, I sipped a second cerveza and took my penicillin.”
While reading such things, I got so angry by this display of идиотизъм, I almost spilled my кафе. Yeah, my thoughts exactly, it’s like saying a big F*CK YOU to your readers. IT. IS. NOT. COOL. TO. WRITE. IN. FIFTEEN. LANGUAGES.
3. Why are there so much drugs? I know that it’s the hippie era, but come on… I got so grossed out by reading about shooting heroin, snorting whatever that Spanish word that the author uses was, constantly smoking weed, etc. etc. It’s disgusting.
4. Lastly, and most importantly, why should I care about this book, about its story and about its idiotic and borderline insane characters? I probably shouldn’t. Which is a good thing, because I definitely didn’t.
Character-wise, I don’t even know if I should bother. The main characters are Tod and Linda. They are plain horrible. Totally damaged. I’m just going to leave this here:
“Linda stopped shaving under her arms last September after we arrived in Mexico. Running my tongue through the silken growth in her armpits electrified me.” (NOTE: she also uses conditioner on her pubic hair. Yes, it was mentioned.)