José Mariano Leyva – Imbéciles Anónimos

ENTRE PERROS-3

My rating: 4 Stars

José Mariano Leyva, yes the same name as the author, is a cynical young man who barely goes through the motions of having friends and personal interactions. When four of his “friends” separately find themselves at a crisis point in their lives, they each ask José Mariano if they can use his house in Cuernavaca as a quiet refuge in which to sort out their problems. He says yes to all of them, taking pleasure in their surprise at finding themselves at a gathering of “Imbéciles Anónimos,” which doesn’t need much translation.

When one member of the group is arrested on the way to Cuernavaca for carrying 3 grams of cocaine, he falls into the hands of a corrupt policeman. Personally familiar with the Leyva family, the policeman learns about the meeting of the four burn-outs, and shows up at the house to enforce his extortion and to generally terrorize the group. This builds to a brutal climax that would have been the end of many other books, but in this case just sets in motion the real story.

The real story involves the pressures of being 30 years old, our parents’ impact on how we live our lives, our ability to change the course of our lives if we really want to, the revolution in Guerrero in the 1970s, the bitter/sweetness of revenge, and our vulnerability, no matter how careful we are, to people with evil intentions.

This is an exciting novel that covers a surprisingly wide range of themes, and succeeds on every level. An award-winning book, it won the “Premio Bellas Artes de Novela José Rubén Romero 2009.” Highly justified.

_______________________

Imagínate una casa en Cuernavaca, en medio de la nada, que pides prestada a un amigo para exorcizar tus demonios en soledad. Imagina que llegas y, como por arte de magia, va formándose un grupo de imbéciles a los que en tu vida has visto, que aparecen ahí con la misma intención que tú. Imagina entonces un crimen inesperado, del que te vuelves cómplice sin comprender cómo es que de ser un desgraciado te has convertido, de repente, en un asesino. A partir de ese momento, sobra decir que nada volverá a ser igual. Imbéciles Anónimos es una novela de euforia prolongada por el beat de un DJ. Pero también es una explosión de rabia nihilista como distintivo generacional. En su primera novela, José Mariano Leyva se perfila como un exquisito narrador kamikaze que con la narcosis, el sexo sin profilaxis, la música electrónica y el gadget tecnológico como fuselaje, estalla contra el aquí y el ahora de una sociedad predecible y aburrida. El impulso vital de un grupo de amigos ‘hermosos y malditos’, (diría Scott Fitzgerald) es el combustible de esta historia.

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