"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The People of Paper



Wow! This has to have been the most weird, wild and wonderful book I’ve read in the longest time. The book begins with a boy who creates paper organs to save his butchered cat and becomes the world’s first origami surgeon. The book goes on to tell of monks in secret factories, a woman of paper, a little girl named Merced and her father who cures himself of sadness by burning his flesh.

Merced and her father Fernando de la Fe leave Mexico and wind up in El Monte, California picking carnations. They encounter gangs, the woman of paper, and a whole assortment of strange and unusual characters. An unlikely war begins against the planet Saturn and the gang members from Monte Flores, led by Fernando.

The People of Paper is violent and bloody, haunting and strangely beautiful. A man’s tongue bleeds and bleeds from paper cuts received while giving a woman of paper cunnilingus, a wife leaves her husband because she is fed up with sleeping in pools of piss, turtles become armored tanks. It is unreal and real, fantastic and sublime.

The book is allegorical, beautifully written and most surprising. There are paper tricks throughout the book as well that normally would annoy me but in this, they just fit so well with the story that I found myself enjoying them hugely. What really surprises me is that this is a debut novel.

Salvador Plascencia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1976.

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