Preparatory Notes for Future Masterpieces

Maceo Montoya. Univ. of Nevada, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64779-000-4
Montoya’s delightful postmodern illustrated novel (after You Must Fight Them) masquerades as the memoir of an obscure Mexican American artist known as “the Chicano Forrest Gump.” Discovered by the unnamed artist’s nephew, an accountant named Ernie Lobato, the manuscript tells the story of a challenging artistic life in comically overheated episodes. Hilariously picayune footnotes are peppered throughout from Ernie and his colleague Lorraine Rios, who encouraged Ernie to send the book to Chicano movement scholar Samuel Pizarro after reading the artist’s claim that he’d killed Oscar Zeta Acosta (Hunter S. Thompson’s inspiration for Dr. Gonzo). The artist’s 51 black-and-white pen drawings appear throughout what amounts to a more or less familiar bildungsroman template; there are the hardscrabble early years, family tragedy, a diehard sidekick who believes in his friend’s art and doggedly supports him, a devoted muse and lover who abandons him, and a stint in an asylum. Through Pizarro’s footnotes, Montoya also pokes fun at the disagreements among Mexican Americans over what to call themselves (“Habits of language are difficult to break and I must admit that the new ‘x’ still causes me to stutter”). Both entertaining and provocative, this lampoons with a gentle touch. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/28/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-64779-001-1
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