Blog about a book acquired and a bit of recent reading


The copy I ordered of Fernando A. Flores’ novel Tears of the Trufflepig arrived today and I finished the first three chapters before putting on the USA-ENG World Cup game—sort of a noir sci-fi tone so far (Flores’ novel, not the World Cup match).

I ordered the book after reading the first five paragraphs of J. David Gonzalez’s review in the Los Angeles Review of Books a few days ago. I’ll read the rest of the review after I finish Trufflepig; these are the paragraphs I stopped with—

Now, about the plot. Drugs have been made legal, so the cartels have taken to trafficking “filtered” animals, bio-engineered exotics brought back from extinction and served at black market dinners for the incredibly rich and extraordinarily vacuous. The death (by filtered ostrich, no less) of El Gordo Pacheco, the leader of the world’s most powerful cartel, has led to a global turf war for control of the filtering syndicates. Australia, Helsinki, Tangiers, New Hampshire: They all want in. Enter Leone McMasters, the silver-mustached head of McM Imports, a shadowy multinational corporation. Think Pynchon’s Golden Fang. Think Monsanto.

Also, there is a thriving black market for the shrunken heads of the Aranaña Indians, a fictional tribe of indigenous people at the heart of Trufflepig’s mystery. Having been vanished for over 400 years, their sudden reappearance portends something. Perhaps it’s doom, but perhaps it’s nothing at all, simply the passing of time. Still, tokens of their existence have led to a Möbius strip of tragedy, “with Indians now killing other Indians for their heads, because they are left out on the margins of the modern world and have few recourses to feed their families.”

I finished Anna Kavan’s novel Ice a few days ago (I wrote about it herehere, and here). I realized after having written about Ice that I’d neglected to compare it favorably to a number of other novels and stories. By compare—well, what I want to say is that reading Ice feels a particular way; it’s disorienting, a bit upsetting, and truly strange. I had meant to compare it to Georg Büchner’s novella Lenz, the novels of João Gilberto Noll, Kazuo Ishiguro’s “A Village after Dark,” plenty of Poe, and the films of David Lynch.

After Ice I read a bit of Anna Burns’ recent novel Milkman, but it didn’t stick for whatever reason—I’ll give it a proper effort soon though. I ended up pulling a collection of Angela Carter from the shelf and rereading some of the tales in The Bloody Chamber (specifically, Carter’s riffs on Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast). I think maybe it was the lingering Kavan flavors—the fable-making psychosexual thrust of it all—that prompted rereading a bit of Carter, which served as almost a palate cleanser. I’ll probably read a few more tales from it after I finish Trufflepig. But now back to the soccer match, which just tied up at 2-2.

5 thoughts on “Blog about a book acquired and a bit of recent reading”

  1. So ummm, i just finished Milkman and I’m kindof in awe. I started reading and was like, oh fuck, b/c I could tell I’d just read, neglect all responsibilities and read, do nothing else but read, and also not want it to end even as I was doing everything I could do to get to the end. She’s kind of stunning, her language, the sentences, the digressions that are wholly integral…. I think you like Bernhard, and she has some similarities, although Burns’ pacing is a wee bit more suspenseful. Have fun…and thanks for the Ann Quinn tip–just lucked out and found everything but Berg in Bookbuyers; reading Three now; not quite as riveting but I like her style.


  2. I read Milkman earlier this year. Pure paranoia. Difficult in that particularly Irish way. Probably great to read out loud. Equal parts frustrating and memorable. An absolutely rewarding read. At many different parts, I thought: “it’s a miracle someone could write this” — which is maybe partially true, because Anna Burns was using food banks when writing it, and suffering intense nerve pain due to a surgical injury.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another vote for “Milkman.” I listened to it and it was incredibly good. I don’t think I could have read it on the page, but the reader, Brid Brennan, rode all those long, elliptical phrases like waves. Fascinating. As a chaser, try “Say Nothing,” a nonfiction account of the Troubles and their legacy.


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