In a follow-up to his autobiographical novel, Where the Bird Sings Best (2015), cult filmmaker, comic-book writer, and novelist Jodorowsky (The Metabaron #1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron, 2018, etc.) tells the surreal tale of his Ukrainian Jewish immigrant father, Jaime, and mother, Sara Felicidad, and his Chilean childhood in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash.
When Jaime and Sara’s store in Tocopilla, Chile, is robbed by a man claiming to be Jesus Christ, the couple, expecting a child, migrate to the copper mines of Chuquicamata in search of a better livelihood. On the way, they meet Rubí Grugenstein, the granddaughter of the copper mine’s American owner. Rubí quickly becomes appalled by the violent exploitation of workers and land. Her solution is to have a miner impregnate her, build a statue of a copper goddess, and, in a public ceremony merging Incan and Catholic iconography, toss herself and the statue into the mines. The revolution she hopes to incite with her suicide is swiftly crushed. Jaime and Sara return home to have twins: Raquel Lea and Alejandro. Soon after, Jaime embarks on a quest to assassinate Chile’s dictator, while Raquel Lea, spouting an impossible stream of nonsensical poetry, is sent away to her grandparents, who silence her with sweetened rice. Meanwhile, warring Communists and Trotskyists take advantage of Sara’s generosity, and the police torture her for her involvement with them. The spirit of The Rabbi, who haunted Jaime’s father and Jaime, now mentors young Alejandro, guiding him through a series of absurd ceremonies that heal the long-separated family after they reunite. Throughout these epic, farcical travails, the narrative repeatedly dwells on genitalia and their “effluvia,” among other sophomoric obsessions with bodily functions.
An occasionally overwrought slurry of myth and mysticism that nevertheless addresses dire sociopolitical problems still painfully relevant today.