Poso Wells

Gabriela Alemán, trans. from the Spanish by Dick Cluster. City Lights, $15.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-87286-755-0
Alemán’s first novel to be translated into English is a wild, successful satire of Ecuadorian politics and supernatural encounters. Shortly before the nation’s 2006 presidential election, an unnamed candidate and 10 of his supporters die via freak electrocution while attempting to drum up support in the small settlement of Poso Wells, leaving land magnate Andrés Vinueza as the sole survivor in line for the presidency. After a group of eyeless, possibly alien men steal Vinueza from a rally, journalist Gonzalo Varas begins to investigate the strange events. A series of hidden tunnels under the settlement leads Varas to Valentina, a recently vanished local. After Vinueza reappears three weeks later, newly devoted to God and flanked by five blind men, Varas, aided by his poet friend Benito and area rabble-rouser Bella, suspects the candidate’s disappearance is connected to Valentina and the growing number of women reported missing in Poso Wells. Alemán’s sleek narrative is bizarre and propulsive, and though the novel’s ramshackle finale may come together a bit fast, Alemán’s singular voice keeps the ride fresh and satisfying. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2018
Release date: 07/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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