- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1324 KB
- Print Length: 433 pages
- Publisher: Random House (4 Jan. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004C43FAM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,076,875 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Destiny and Desire: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The severed head belongs to 27-year-old Josué Nadal. He begins his story in high school where he is befriended by a slightly older boy known only as Jericó (many names in the book have symbolic overtones). Both are effectively orphans: Jericó lives alone, and Josué is cared for by a disapproving housekeeper. The two bond closely, move in together, and set themselves an intellectual program to study all sides of every possible argument, reading Saint Augustine side-by-side with Nietzsche, studying Machiavelli. They also experience less intellectual pursuits, such as sharing the same whore. Brothers in spirit, they are also potential rivals. By entitling the first and last of the book's four main sections "Castor and Pollux" and "Cain and Abel," Fuentes appears to show his hand, but the truth is not so obvious.
Jericó goes abroad for college. Josué studies law, and is given repeated access to Mexico City's most notorious prison (one of several sections that reminded me of Roberto Bolaño's 2666). Adulthood sees each of them placed in apprenticeships to men of power: Jericó as an aide to Mexican President Carrerra, Josué in the entourage of the country's most powerful business leader, Max Monroy. The book becomes an examination of power, whether wielded through the ballot box, the street revolution, the reach of the internet, or criminal conspiracy. It is also about heritage: the lingering question of Jericó and Josué's parenthood, and more importantly the recent history of Mexico that has brought it to its present crisis of lawlessness. "Just yesterday," one of the characters remarks, "a highway in the state of Guerrero was blocked by uniformed criminals. Were they fake police? Or simply real police dedicated to crime?"
Once, towards the end of the book, Josué recounts a long dream. Somewhere in the middle of it, I found that I had lost the mental quotes; I no longer knew whether it was a dream or real. I also realized that it did not matter. So much of this book takes place in a nightmare world -- a miasma of philosophy hanging over a swamp of manipulation and desire -- that it is no longer relevant to distinguish fact from fiction. Except that Fuentes continues to write with verbal brilliance and flashes of humor that do much to illuminate the darkness.
The the web of deceit that is revealed among their circle of acquaintances as they mature is frightening. The cruelty is reminiscent of the Dark Ages. With all this, the dialogues between characters are difficult to follow, partly because they go on and on, sometimes clarifying their meanings and sometimes not. This novel is the work of genius and a real challenge.
An interesting work, but not a provocative one.
Worth a look though.