An unforgettable debut of linked stories that follow the members and retinue of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile after the patriarch is kidnapped.
On an unremarkable night, José Victoriano Arteaga—the head of a thriving Mexico City family—vanishes on his way home from work. The Arteagas find few answers; the full truth of what happened to Arteaga is lost to the shadows of Mexico’s vast and desperate underworld, a place of rampant violence and kidnappings, and government corruption. But soon packages arrive to the family house, offering horrifying clues.
Fear, guilt, and the prospect of financial ruination fracture the once-proud family and scatter them across the globe, yet delicate threads still hold them together: in a swimming pool in Palo Alto, Arteaga’s young grandson struggles to make sense of the grief that has hobbled his family; in Mexico City, Arteaga’s mistress alternates between rage and heartbreak as she waits, in growing panic, for her lover’s return; in Austin, the Arteagas’ housekeeper tries to piece together a second life in an alienating and demeaning new land; in Madrid, Arteaga’s son takes his ailing dog through the hot and unforgiving streets, in search of his father’s ghost.
What I Thought...
What did I think? This was not my usual type of read. The book was sent to me in The Trust Fall subscription box curated by The Book People. I read this one in one sitting. So I can not say that I didn't like it but I didn't really like it. OK...hang in there for a bit. Let me explain. It does follow the lives of people who are in some way attached to Jose Victoriano Arteaga. All of the individuals have been displaced from their home country of Mexico following his kidnapping. We see how their lives are changed and how they are coping. The stories (similar to chapters) are interesting. A few of them are not quite my kind of writing. The language is a little strong in some of them. I am not a purist but some of the language shocked me.
It is an easy read. I'm confused because I'm not sure how to recommend this one. If the language would not bother you and you like street tough novels, then give this one a try. I gave it a 2 star. So not a complete waste of my time. (Wow! That sounds harsh, I didn't mean for it to sound that way). I just know I would not have read this if I had not received a signed first edition from The Book People.
Have you read Barefoot Dog Stories? If so, what did you think? If not, would you read it?
Leave a comment and let me know.