Chicano Frankenstein

Forest Avenue. Mar. 2024. 222p. ISBN 9781942436591. pap. $18. HORROR
Olivas (How To Date a Flying Mexican) offers a delightful, if occasionally heavy-handed, retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, set in a future dystopia. It is a world where the protagonist, one of the reanimated dead known as a “stitcher,” struggles to find his place amid the general challenges of daily life as he also faces broader and more ominous political and medical powers. The parallels and connections in this troubling allegory for the current political climate are entertaining to spot, but also a reminder of some depressing realities. The Chicano culture that the author embraces adds wonderful depth to the book, and good pacing and interludes of larger world affairs offset the minutia of the unnamed (until the end) protagonist’s life.
VERDICT The way Olivas builds on the classic Shelley story and sets it within a futuristic context makes it an intriguing read that will speak to disenfranchised voices and spark discussion among its readers. A good read-alike for Tim McGregor’s Eynhallow and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi.
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