cover image Tears of the Trufflepig

Tears of the Trufflepig

Fernando A. Flores. MCD, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-53833-0

A near-future picaresque of genetic manipulation, indigenous legend, and organized crime on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Flores’s delirious debut never quite delivers on its imaginative premise. Bellacosa, a freelance South Texas construction equipment locator, gets drafted by journalist Paco Herbert to attend an “underground dinner” where wealthy invitees eat extinct animals that have been recreated through the process of “filtering.” Among the living amusements is a Trufflepig, a “piglike reptile” central to the mythology of the (fictional) Aranaña tribe. Once home, Bellacosa is greeted by his brother, who has just escaped a Mexican syndicate attempting to shrink his head and sell it as an Aranaña artifact. Bellacosa himself is soon kidnapped by a crooked border patrolman and, in the sequence leading to the story’s conclusion, hooked with electrodes to a Trufflepig that transforms his psyche into “the memory of all living things.” Flores’s novel is jam-packed with excitement, but his inability to prioritize his ideas prevents them from cohering into a credible vision of dystopia. Despite this, Flores’s novel shows he has talent and creativity to spare. (May)