A work of autobiographical fiction by Mexican poet Herbert. As he sits by his dying mother, a son immerses himself in his memories of his childhood and youth while he investigates the complex relationship with his former prostitute mother, his own children and his country.
Herbert, known previously mostly as a poet, is now — with this playful experiment of memoir, fiction, humor and tragedy — among the more interesting and ambitious prose stylists of our time ... Beyond all the power and poetry of a reckoning with poverty is the book's sly and wonderful handling of the literary world ... Herbert's ambitious novel is the pleasing work of a high stylist having fun, loving life, making a good story despite a country's miseries and his own.
Tomb Song leaves space for the high-minded, the sociopolitical and the pop culture-obsessed ... Tomb Song is an inherently contradictory book: The experimental aspects of its structure have a playfulness to them, which in turn contrasts with the (literally) life-or-death stakes at its core ... This novel sprawls, but never loses sight of the human connection at its core — and it’s all the more moving as a result.
Tomb Song is more than an elegy, more than a meditation. Herbert takes a deep dive into an emotional, interconnected story on death, family, love and ambition, resulting in a work that is at once personal and universal ... The book — like Julian, like his mother, like their relationship — is messy, but given the careful, poetic language and musical paragraphs, it’s clear the leaps and transitions between narratives, times and countries, are intentional, meant to mimic the reflective turmoil that comes when experiencing death for the first time ... a powerful, bittersweet debut.