Tears of the Trufflepig

MCD:Farrar. May 2019. 336p. ISBN 9780374538330. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780374720148. F
Esteban Bellacosa, like many in the south Texas border town of MacArthur, makes a tenuous living by hustling deals and facilitating cross-border business schemes. The legalization of all drugs, a burgeoning trade in once-extinct animal species (resurrected by a process known as filtering), and Mexico's catastrophic economic collapse have created a situation far removed from his former life as a small-business owner and family man. Esteban's wife and daughter are dead, his dentist brother Oswaldo has been kidnapped, and his daily social interactions are often limited to banter with the always-changing crew of waitresses at his favorite diner. So when journalist acquaintance Paco Herbert invites him to a mysterious, invitation-only dinner party featuring filtered animals, he decides to go, setting off events that push them even deeper into the violent mysteries along the border. The political reality of our present is all too easily recognized in this version of the future.
VERDICT Austinite writer/bookseller Flores has created a nightmarish if fascinating vision of a borderland of multiple, parallel walls; designer genetic experimentation; and grisly violence—all dabbed liberally with folkloric strokes. For fans of magical realism and near-future settings, e.g., Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and of Hunter S. Thompson's psychedelic energy.

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