From time to (pages later) time here Matthew Mendelsohn who is also Mateo who is the narrator who is not the Spanish soldier (that's his sometime friend Antonio) tells elephant stories which is a good way to reduce a long book full of words to just two ""wizard words"" which ""come too easily."" Elephant stories -- enormous fantasy-fed elephant stories phasing in and out of the past, parodying Hemingway -- winding to the river and getting lost in the trees (courage, manhood, honor, et alia), and slimly joined together by a few facts or almosts and a handful of people: namely Matthew whose wife of ten years had ridden her horse to her death (helped along?) in a swimming pool; and Antonio, the Spanish soldier; and Lise who takes Matthew to an island in Spain to search for the Cup, the Cup the Judah drank from; and Parado who never recovered from his war experience -- at least he's more overtly dislocated; and someone called Rosa who's a professional kisser from Vienna. This is one of those unclassifiables -- a hyper-hype strung out on a series of grand delusions and fueled with a lot of sex and foodstuffs and, in spots, humor. More tiring than self-perpetuating. Burkholz wrote an earlier short novel (Sister Bear), lives on Ibiza which is surely a little like the island here, and collaborated once with Clifford Irving (Spy) before Irving told that other elephant story.