NINA HUANCA by Faustino Gonzalez-Aller


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His beloved mother is a Caribbean sea captain given to oratory at the helm (""and so speak I, the Great Cunt of the Ocean""). His father-by-rape is Col. Felix Arruza, strongman of an unnamed Guatemalanish ""republic"" in the United Fruit chain. He's Miguel Angel Matalax, a one-eyed, Europeanized bastard determined to express his filial feelings (""yechhh!"") with a coup. The oedipal agenda includes substituting look-alikes for the Colonel's top stooges, befriending and betraying a band of guerrilla rebels, and bedding (love's an unexpected fringe benefit) junta mistresses. Shades of Mission: Impossible, but the plot's absurdities are swathed, swamped almost, in prickly ironies and free-form voyages through a dozen fevered, equatorial minds. A poetic and earthy crowd, this, so much so that we sometimes wind up playing the whose-little-pronoun-are-you? games that G. G. Marquez seems to have made mandatory for Hispanic novels. But Gonzalez-Aller's gringo-edged verbal attacks (brays, translator Peden!) drive through the oblique excesses, and, even without a compelling story or a sympathetic hero, a sensibility worth wrestling with makes itself known. Read this one to prepare for the next.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1977
Publisher: Viking