Stacked with other striking images and clever details, like the three canyon-sized concrete barriers that separate the U.S. from Mexico (and still fail to curb migration), this wildly imaginative, highly addicting, and ultimately endearing speculative first novel offers borderlands storytelling with an sf twist.
Though Bellacosa’s longing for his deceased wife and daughter lures him toward death and to the trufflepig’s promise of sweet dreams, he doesn’t enter this underworld so much as drop into it. He follows one eccentric story after another, landing in situations that, in Flores’ vivid settings, blend noir with magical realism ... Holding on to the many, many threads Flores winds around Bellacosa can, however, be a big job for the reader. Intricacy runs close alongside chaos ... His quest may be meandering and bizarre, nightmarish and heart-rending, but the journey is well worth taking.
Flores expertly lampoons the narcotraficante predilection for exotic collecting and baroque violence. But his bigger target is authenticity fetishism, the backward-looking, vinyl-loving, locavore culture that distracts, like Nero’s fiddle, from natural and social disaster ... Fraught with confusing metaphors and expository dialogue, Tears of the Trufflepig is an uneven debut, inconsistently fulfilling the promise of its brilliant, madcap conceit. But Flores has such a distinctive, irresistibly strange sensibility that I almost didn’t care—better half-baked genius than exquisitely turned mediocrity. The novel delivers where it counts...
Flores’s delirious debut never quite delivers on its imaginative premise ... Flores’s novel is jam-packed with excitement, but his inability to prioritize his ideas prevents them from cohering into a credible vision of dystopia. Despite this, Flores’s novel shows he has talent and creativity to spare.
... certainly deserves its place alongside Warren Ellis and Jeff Vandermeer, with a rustic patina that nods to the likes of Jonathan Lethem’s well-worn detectives ... Plotwise, the novel is seriously circuitous, but Flores’ rich characterizations, sparing prose, and vivid portrayal of the myths of Mexican culture and life along the border give what could have been a tinder-dry crime novel a strange whimsy and charm that don’t sound like anything else in genre fiction ... A dryly philosophical, colorful, and disorienting thriller about grief, survival, and undead animals.