El Niño

Nadia Bozak. House of Anansi (PGW, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-77089-325-2
The second novel in Bozak’s Border trilogy, following Orphan Love, is challenging but worthwhile for readers who are up to following its three narrators through shifting timelines. It’s set in a fictional desert landscape near the U.S.-Mexico border at a time when a wall is being built to keep unwanted migrants out of the U.S. Honey, a wealthy woman, drives south from her home in Buzzard City for an impromptu visit with her elderly mother, Marianne, a painter who lives with her Shepherd-coyote dog, Baez, in a rundown trailer where she sometimes helps boys trying to cross the nearby border. When Honey arrives, she discovers Marianne is missing. Honey meets Chavez, a young “coyote” or human trafficker, who claims to know the whereabouts of her mother, and offers to pay him to guide her to Marianne. Thus begins a parched journey through the desert heat and into the stories of Chavez, his friend Juan, and those desperate to immigrate. Narration alternates among Honey, Chavez, and Baez. Stark imagery (some of it gruesome and shocking) and abrupt time shifts impart a surrealist feeling to this provocative novel as Bozak transports readers into the brutal world of human smuggling. Agent: Martha Webb, McDermid Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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