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

Borges

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Modelo Antiguo



This book was another great find from one of my favorite publishers Cinco Puntos Press. The translation into English by Sharon Franco and Joe Hayes is smooth, catching all the Mexican dialogue and chistes with ease. Cinco Puntos is doing such a fantastic job in bringing over these great Mexican novels by writers like Luis Eduardo Reyes and Paco Taibo II that before I write my review on the book, I have to take a moment to thank them and encourage them in this wonderful task they are undertaking.

The novel centers on Juan, a young taxi driver and Barbara, a 74 year old virgin who wants to die in her vintage, cherry old Ford and so hires Juan as a chauffeur to drive her around Mexico City – the Mexico City that she remembers from her youth. It’s a wild ride through the streets of the city and the reader is made familiar with these crazy Mexican streets.

Barbara is a well-bred lady and Juan, a rude, crude and not so honest man. They start off hating each other. Juan’s nefarious intentions are to steal the car and whatever money he can get from Barbara but something keeps bringing him back on this strange ride through Barbara’s memories and the city streets. Slowly they begin to fall for each other and this strange romance ensues as they dodge danger, visit hotels and pharmacies as they try to deal with their feelings and emotions.

It’s a funny, wry, absurd and wonderfully surreal tale of Mexico City and love.

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