Saturday, May 7, 2016

ZERO SAINTS by Gabino Iglesias

It's impressive how much great material author Gabino Iglesias is able to fit into such a tiny book. This, his Spanglish-language 2nd novel, is filled with everything from heavy doses of SanterĂ­a and Yoruba religions, Mara Salvatrucha bangers that just may have a hint of demon in them, a hitman who is also an aspiring reggaeton artist, examinations of immigrant life, and a man who never blinks.
Her smile had all the power of the sun but didn't blind me. Instead, I wanted to look at it forever, to stay there and just look at her glorious face until everything around us turned to dust except our bodies.
But this is a difficult one to review. I also find it difficult to summarize it without spoiling the experience for others. It's one of those books that feels like it truly deserves a second read to fully process. From page 1, Iglesias hit me hard, and then the book was over before I even grasped what I read. The book is engrossing though, and mixes a somber tone and  moments of quiet contemplation with moments of savage, visceral violence. There's even a hint of the fantastic, what I'll call magical noirism! Not only is about a quarter of it told in untranslated Spanish, but there is also untranslated Russian and Yoruba. As I said, there's a lot going on in this one! Many might find it a difficult read, but it's definitely rewarding. Give it a look, I'll wager you've probably not read anything quite like it...
The thing about life is that time gets between facts and memories and as memories turn into what they are, facts start sliding back, moving into a space full of images from pelĂ­culas and skeletons from bad dreams and imagined monstruos and stuff that someone told you.


  1. Just discovered your blog through Christoph Paul on Twitter. I LOVED this book. I also speak Spanish so the Spanglish wasn't an issue, neither were the other languages. A friend of mine who only reads, speaks English had no problem with the language.

  2. Great review. I love this book so much. It's definitely one that needs at least a second read.


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