The piece has the atmosphere of a journalistic feature, not only because Varas—the journalist—is our hero, but because the division between fiction and nonfiction is blurry ... Throughout the book, Alemán embroiders a series of characters that are at times ironical, and other times fall into the depiction of cartoons. They are playful and ironic, however (at times) it feels like the outcome of their actions is predictable or too good to be true. But the masterfulness of the piece lies in how language plays a fundamental role to understanding the interaction between places (the ground and the underground), belief systems (religion and patriarchy), and power (politics and money). If you are looking for an exciting story to take your breath away—non-stop— Poso Wells is the answer ... [Alemán] draws a full circle of political and social criticism while still preserving the freshness of her voice. After getting to the end, we might look for an excuse to read her again.
Mixing satire with fantasy and ribald humor, [Alemán] creates an imaginary wasteland called Poso Wells where hundreds of women disappear mysteriously and grotesque occurrences happen every day ... Dick Cluster, the translator, has fused the poetic with the tabloid and brought the work of one of Latin America’s rising literary stars to readers in North America. Poso Wells can be read with pleasure in one long sitting and then reread for nuances and subtleties that surprise and entertain.
Poso Wells is a perfect complement for the current political state of the United States and the hopelessness caused by constant access to terrible news via social media. The story speaks to the delusion and god complex involved in wanting to lead an entire nation and the destructive power of indifference and greed. It also touches on the silence behind the pervasive violence women encounter in their daily lives. Alemán has created a disturbing, absurd, at times heart-wrenching story about the atrocities committed by patriarchs in power and the difficulty in fighting against colonialism.
Alemán’s first novel to be translated into English is a wild, successful satire of Ecuadorian politics and supernatural encounters ... Alemán’s sleek narrative is bizarre and propulsive, and though the novel’s ramshackle finale may come together a bit fast, Alemán’s singular voice keeps the ride fresh and satisfying.
One part Thomas Pynchon, one part Gabriel García Marquez, and one part Raymond Chandler, Alemán’s novel contains mystery, horror, humor, absurdity, and political commentary. Her characters are cartoonishly lovable or hateable, and the world they inhabit is overblown and stylized. Though the novel contains flashes of brilliance...her writing sometimes lapses into cliché and lacks specificity, though it is unclear whether this is her doing or the fault of Cluster’s translation. In the end, though the novel never quite finds its footing, Alemán is a good enough storyteller and has a good enough sense of pacing that the story never drags. A concoction of political thriller and absurdist literary mystery that never fails to entertain.