Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Tomb Song

Finished July 29
Tomb Song by Julián Herbert, translated by Christina MacSweeney

This novel, a debut novel from this Mexican author, is a tale told in first person by a narrator by the same first name as the author. It moves back and forth in time, between the present, the narrator's childhood and other earlier times in his life. 
Julián's mother Guadalupe, was a prostitute, although she tried to shield her children from much exposure to this life. To escape debt, they moved often, and each of the four children has a different father. In the present Guadalupe is in hospital, near death, and he finds himself resurrecting memories from his past, grappling with his own identity, and dealing with anxieties around being a writer. 
This is a book about the margins of Mexican society, along with the darker issues of sex, drugs, violence, and poverty. Julián is also about to be a father himself, and this adds to his feelings. He talks not only of his life, but also of strange dreams that he has had. 
This is not an easy read, or a happy one, but it is one that is well written and has the feel of experience in his in the author's knowledge of his subject matter. A very original work. 

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