Lake City has a lot of heavy weather, and it’s not just in the air. Eduardo “Vince” Negron has a regular table at a bar-restaurant in Pigsville called El Perro Llorón, from where he runs El Manojo, a motley assortment of hoodlums. Negron is minor league, but across town former gangster gone legit Lloyd Frend is thinking big: perhaps he will run for office one day; he will certainly make a lot more money. Men will be caught in the crossfire between Negron and Frend as they battle for territory, not least Walt Hargrove, an appliance store salesman drawn to El Manojo by curiosity and the desire to make an extra dollar or two. Told with a tongue in various cheeks, Pigsville is a gripping tale full of sex, drugs, and violence—and not a little black humor.
The number of possibilities for violence were limitless. He didn’t really want to get mixed up in it. Then he told himself he was already standing right in the middle, favors were favors and he’d exchanged them with all sorts of people in Lake City, big and small. He wished there was another way, but there wasn’t.
—Excerpt from Pigsville
Rubén Arenal, nicknamed Rocket by his friends and family, and Ernesto Cisneros are as close as brothers, living in the city of Chihuahua in Mexico’s northern state of Chihuahua. Rubén, a potter, lives alone in his workshop. Ernesto is married to Guadalupe and they have a son, Coyuco, who is training to be a teacher. Out of these bald facts spins magic. Rubén falls in love with an eerily lifelike mannequin in a shop window, widely rumored to be more flesh and bone than mere artifice, and modeled on a local beauty nicknamed La Pascualita, who died young many decades ago. Rubén trails after her ghost while Ernesto leaves their hometown to go in search of his son, kidnapped and disappeared by the police while out on a student protest with his comrades from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College.
“Two friends two friends, how close could they get without being one man… one in love with a ghost, the other… longed for the son who’d more than likely already become a ghost”
Set in the very recent past, Thirteen Heavens is a hypnotizing tale of corrupt politics, brutal violence, and all-too-human drama. For all of its quiet brutality, the narrative is infused with an entrancing, dreamlike mix of Mexican folklore, popular song and poetry. At the novel’s very heart lies the porosity of the boundary between this life and the next. It is a book like no other and, once begun, it is very hard to put down. Once put down, it is very hard to forget.
The Magic Dogs of San Vicente is set in the aftermath of the war in El Salvador (1980-1992), a war in which the two Flores brothers were arrested and savagely tortured, but a war that they ultimately survived. On a heat-soaked morning in El Salvador’s wild countryside, the Flores brothers encounter something — part vision, part phantasm, part shuddering echo of their past — that almost frightens them out of their wits. What follows is a magical, dream-like and picaresque journey, as the Flores brothers try to find what will set them free from the thing that they have witnessed and from the tragedies of their past.
« The cadejos were stretched out on the ground beneath an evergreen shrub, the Mexican yew, a landscape imagined or real, while the horse without a rider nodded its head at José Matías and Wilber Eduardo. »
« She suddenly felt a tingling sensation in her body that wasn’t familiar and which she didn’t understand because maybe this was starting to feel like the kind of sex she didn’t think existed on earth, and maybe she was falling in love. »