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.
... an alt-/near-/quasi-/somewhat dystopic- future that is funny and weird, but with a dark undertow of social commentary that will keep it unspooling in your mind after you finish reading ... Bellacosa is one of my favorite protagonists in a while ... Flores is quite good at skewering the guest of the party without falling into clichés of how the superrich behave—or fail to behave ... Flores gives us a near-future that is often fun and rollicking, but he’s never afraid to show us the reality that is all-too-close to the world we’re living in right now.
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.