MEXICO DAYS by Robert Roper


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A limp, rhetorical, and unnecessarily convoluted third novel by the heretofore more organized and richly talented author of Royo County (1973) and On Spider Creek (1978). Louis Sanders, who narrates, is the son of shady mob figure Gerson Sanders, a Los Angeles businessman who has kept his daughter and son mostly away from the facts of his life. What Louis and his sister do remember vividly, however, are the summers they spent at the Mexican estate of a woman who had some connection with their father. The woman's twin daughters, Marta and Marcella, play crucial roles in the erotic educations of both Sanders children; the connections (though crossed) continue as Louis and his sister grow up in the 60's and 70's--the sister riding the edges of society with radical politics, Louis himself at first a marijuana smuggler and then a full-fledged grower in northern California. Roper seems to want to write at least three different novels here: a memoir of a shifting, ambiguous childhood: a political-drug book … la Robert Stone; and a sexual Gemini-fantasy, very hard-boiled, concerning twins and incest. Because none elbows the other out, it's all Roper can do to keep the themes on the table, which he does unfortunately in the deadest of ways, involving long, mannered sentences and absurd time-shifts. A disappointment.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson