cover image Yucatan


Andrea De Carlo. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $21.95 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-15-199895-1

Three men embark on a picaresque, often hallucinative jaunt from L.A. to the Yucatan peninsula in quest of material for a film, in this absurdist tease of a novel by Italian writer De Carlo ( Macno ). Narrator Dave is the keen young assistant to egocentric Yugoslavian filmmaker Dru Resnik, who privately ruminates on his art. They are joined by thick-necked Hollywood producer Nesbitt, who foots the bills. First they track the elusive Camado, a reputed peyote-eater whose books on drugs and the occult in Mexico may provide the story they need. But an uncanny trail of messages (e.g., ``We are watching you'') guides them to unexpected locations in hotels, ancient temples, gas stations. En route they pick up amiable women--Mary Ann the cyclist, salesperson Sashy, and notably Elaine, actress and ``spiritual girl'' who interprets the cryptic messages. The narrative creates a continual air of expectancy, unreeling haphazardly like a home movie, proving finally that the journey's accumulation of images and personal entanglements is the story. (Mar.)