Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Science Fiction
So here’s a book that I discovered through the blog TNBBC. I don’t really read too many self-published books, not because I don’t like any of them, but because I just don’t really know a lot of them or they don’t catch my interest. I also think that a lot of self published authors that don’t have much art or photoshop skills should keep the cover minamalistic or with a nice simple design, depending on the genre. There’s way too many ugly covers and I know that sounds shallow but I don’t want to read a book with a picture of a muscular man in love with a horse woman, okay? okay. I don’t think my explanation of the plot in this story would be explained well with my words. So here it is:
“During an oil crisis-induced war in South America, Findesferas tells the story of Juan and his twin brother Matias as they fight to stay alive in the hopes of returning to their home, and normality. Juan is a poet, but since the death of his wife, he can’t seem to recapture the same creativity he used to pour into his work. Carrying a dark secret that threatens to ruin his life, can he forgive himself and make it out alive, or will his inability to escape the past destroy him? Matías’ wife Octavia is in a civilian holding in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, trying to forge a new life with her son. When the Pombero, a malevolent spirit, comes to visit them, her brief period of calm is brought abruptly to an end, and she must make a difficult decision: offer the Pombero a live sacrifice, or let him take the twins instead. Findesferas considers the lengths we will go to in order to protect our loved ones, find new energy sources or change the past.”
Anyway, this novel is freaking wonderful. I LOVE magical realism, I don’t know why. Historical fiction is also another big favorite of mine and it’s pulled off quite well. There’s a good amount of historical and scientific facts or information, so not only are you reading a fantastical novel, you are learning a lot of history and science associated with oil and the War of the Triple Alliance. I also loved the bilingual stuff, it kind of made the novel more realistic because obviously not everyone speaks English.
The characters are pretty developed and they do change and regret their decisions (that’s pretty much character development right?). They all have their own little unique thing and they all have their conflicts. That was pretty much most of the novel, fighting against their conflict and their human flaws. Unfortunately one of them had a pretty terrible fate (is that a spoiler?). Of course there are likeable characters and dislikable characters. I feel like every time I like a book a lot, it’s really hard to review, what’s up with that?
Like a lot of magical realist novels I have read, it has a really dreamy atmosphere, which you would expect and the tense feeling of a family that is slowly being torn apart. The relationship between the brothers are real and sad, because you know it’s not going to last long and the war raging through Paraguay destroys the relationships between the family and the people who live on the land.
There seems to be a whole political or social message going on in this novel, in my opinion. This thing with fighting over oil has been happening for a few years. I don’t always pay attention to the news and when the war was happening, I was still not paying attention. I could be horribly wrong, but the war between the U.S. and Iraq was apparently over oil? We human beings are so darn selfish and greedy, that we fight over oil. However, without oil, we won’t have electricity, plastic, and a lot of other things that you wouldn’t expect needed oil.
Then there’s some romance, but a very fragmented and dysfunctional love relationship. Love wears away, people start to ignore each other and forget they exist. They change and the former self remains in our heads, the one that we refuse to delete regardless if it’s good or bad.
Then there’s a part, the science fiction part, where it’s all futuristic and spacey. I don’t want to spoil it, this probably is a spoiler, but the ending of the Findesferas section of the book made me want to yell “OIL IS PEOPLE!” (Soylent Green movie reference, “SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!”).
The writing is great, descriptive but without overdoing. It flows nicely, it’s pretty good for his debut novel. It doesn’t even feel like a debut novel, it feels like his second or his third. Maybe he obsessive compulsively writes his drafts over and over?
My review will probably not give this justice, but it was an enjoyable novel, thought provoking, and entertaining novel. I don’t think I felt bored reading it because the chapters were so short. It has everything I love history, drama, science, magical realism or fantasy. There were some parts that left me confused, like the beginning, I still don’t know why the marshal ended up in maybe a glass tube thing. Some sort of weird purgatory? Maybe that was the point, because magical realism, there’s no logical explanation for the strange things. Maybe I missed it? So yeah, fun read.