Author: Salvador Plascencia
Published by Harcourtbooks (2005)
It’s hard to describe this book without going topsy turvy. The most salient feature about this novel was the infusion of magical realism. The author even wrote himself into the narrative! It was pretty clever. The novel is told through many perspectives that vary based on the situation or chapter.
The story takes place in a flower town called El Monte (how fitting) in which Frederico de la Fe (his name is always written out completely, never just a Frederico or de la Fe) rallies a bunch of folks to rebel against Saturn watching their every move, listening to their thoughts, or watching them make love. The end result is satisfying and its also sad for the lost souls on the way.
For lovers of magical realism, they will thoroughly enjoy this novel. There was a whimsy to the way the author treated the main themes of love and despair that made the book that much interesting to read. The novel was definitely an ensemble piece filled with a cast of memorable characters.
Not being a huge fan of magical realism, I was able to appreciate the novel but not love it. There were some great passages in the piece that had me involved, I must say. And so many interesting characters like Baby Nostradamus that teaches Little Merced how to evade Saturn’s gaze. You’ll see once you learn about the People of Paper.