From Publishers Weekly
The decapitated head of Josué Nadal, washed up on the shore of the Mexican Pacific, narrates this "manuscript of salt and foam," the cacophonous latest from Fuentes (The Old Gringo). As Josué's brain oozes onto the sand, he considers the political history of his country and the ill-fated relationships that led to his death. He recalls a lamentable childhood salvaged by Jericó, an enigmatic fellow student whose circumstances seem uncannily similar to his own and who rescues him from the bullies at school. Their friendship is powerful and lifelong, eventually split by the pursuit of power and ambition: Jericó's increasingly sinister designs are disguised by his work for the Mexican president while Josué studies law under Antonio Sanginés, who has a secret interest in the young men's entangled fates. When presidential and business interests collide, Jericó and Josué face each other from opposite sides of the conflict. Fuentes offers up a positively unruly contemplation of Mexico's history and future, frequently interrupted by digressions that are often philosophical, political, slapstick, or raunchy, but always provocative. (Jan.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Destiny and Desire
is a postmodern telling of a classic tale of friendship and betrayal between two men set in modern Mexico City. Critics agreed that Fuentes is impressive in his mastery not only of Mexican politics and history but also in his knowledge of philosophy and literary devices. Josué and Jericó are incarnations of Castor and Pollux, or perhaps Cain and Abel, and the novel discusses everything from St. Augustine to Justin Timberlake. Fuentes’ digressions constitute a fine display of his breadth of knowledge and skill, but in their fantastical, symbolic richness, they both add and detract from his work. “A certain coherence is lost in the collision of literary effects,” notes the Wall Street Journal
. Despite its excesses and length, Destiny and Desire
left critics, in the end, quite awed.