Why did I give Tears of the Trufflepig five stars?
You know, I’m not entirely sure.
Could I summarize the plot, the deeper meaning of what Fernando A. Flores had in mind when he wrote this novel? I could try but, in all honesty, I don’t know that I could do it in a way that’s fair and good to Fernando A. Flores and the intricate, complex thing he has created.
But, since this is a book review, I’d better try.
There is a man named Bellacosa who lives on the American side of the Texas-Mexico border at some point in the future (when there is not one but three(!) walls along the border… some people would be so happy, not me, but some). Bellacosa is a widower trying to get buy, making deals in a world that has been decimated by food shortages and crumbling governments, now controlled by (crime-ish) syndicates. These syndicates get rich and powerful in a few ways – by controlling a process known as ‘filtering’, which can produce extinct species of animals and plants, and by dealing in shrunken human heads said to be from the ancient, lost, maybe mythical Aranana tribe but really just whoever they can capture, decapitate, and dupe rich people with.
Bellacosa discovers much of this by accident, in the midst of just trying to get by.
In that way, he’s a very good… perspective from which to view would could, and to some degree probably would, happen if catastrophes like food shortages began to decimate the world. The rich would be powerful, but only until they were not the richest. And then the cycle would repeat. Much like it does now anyway.
I don’t know if the author was trying for full social commentary-slash-warnings of what could be, but I read that in what he wrote. If I could interview him, I would ask that. I’d ask if the hallucinations and the dreams and the mythical tribes are based on Mexican folklore and culture. I’d ask what inspired him to write this baffling, awesome story.
It’s stark and it’s scary and it’s fascinating.
I have to read it again. I really, really do.
***As I have an ARC, the following quotes may not appear in the final version of the book… but I love them just the same… they alone could make this book five stars for me.***
“The worst that can happen is I die, and that’s fine by me.”
“It was a shame Bellacosa wasn’t a drinking man. Alcohol never sat well with him, and he always asked himself what there was for a non-drinking man to quench his sorrows.”
“She said the problem in this world is that wolves are still murdering grandmothers and disguising themselves as them in order to convince you nothing has changed…”
“They take your paradise, then our dreams of paradise. Then they try to take us, the dreamers.”
(I received a copy of Tears of the Trufflepig through NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)