Esteban Bellacosa has lived in the border town of MacArthur long enough to know to avoid the dangerous syndicates who make their money through trafficking. But his simple life gets complicated after a swashbuckling journalist invites him to an underground dinner at which filtered animals are served. Bellacosa soon finds himself on a surreal journey in the course of which he encounters the long-disappeared Aranaña Indian tribe and their object of worship: the mysterious Trufflepig.
The plot lines in Trufflepig are funhouse mirrors, reflecting the horrors of both our history and our headlines ... But it’s the narrative that delights. When so much fiction feels like elegant dioramas, like masterfully crafted ships in bottles, Trufflepig feels organic and amorphous, like some biological organism, shape-shifting its way through the literary landscape, leaving a thin ribbon of goo in its wake. The plot is beside the point. There is a world to be discovered here. In Trufflepig, Flores takes the well-worn, time-honored tradition of the psychedelic-sci-fi-punk-western-horror-noir and turns it on its ear. The psychological, the spiritual, and the political all intertwine in a cicatrix pattern ... Trufflepig is a narcocorrido for the Island of Dr. Moreau. It’s Roberto Bolaño and Gloria Anzaldúa dropping acid and staring into the desert sun. It’s a metaphysical detective story about genocide, corruption, and families ... Tears of the Trufflepig is funny and thrilling and tragic. Loose and sometimes unwieldy, yes, but also mesmerizing and ambitious.
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...
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.