From Publishers Weekly
An English teacher living in Mexico tries to recover his children after an ugly divorce in Theis's turgid debut novel, which focuses on the troubled relationship between the first-person narrator, Daniel, and his beautiful but aloof wife, Jane. The two are saddled with problems from the outset, starting with Daniel's instability and the failed suicide attempt that scars him for life. In addition, his state of mind seems to depend on how well he and Jane are doing together, and Jane's occasional disdain for her husband sets the stage for disaster. She pushes the marriage over the edge with a series of affairs and sexual adventures, culminating in an involvement with the cruel, dominating Carlos ValparaIso, who also happens to own the school where Daniel teaches. Daniel collapses mentally and emotionally when he learns of the affair, taking a room in a Mexico City boarding house where he is almost raped by a gay resident, then falls into a brief but melodramatic affair with a burn victim named Laura. Theis's prose is laced with Mexican symbolism and lurid, macabre incidents, but the outcome of the narrative turns all too familiar when Daniel hunts down Jane and confronts her and her lover in an effort to get his children back. Theis shows some promise as he puts together his decidedly odd cast of characters, and he displays a nice feel for the unique atmosphere and history of Mexico, which has drawn so many novelists. But the hackneyed plot line is ill-suited to his quirky, rather baroque prose, which demands some unusual twists and turns that are missing here.
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"in languid, rich prose...reminds us how great literature ultimately deals with birth, death, and, most importantly, everything in between." -- Austin Chronicle
Powerful...a well-crafted tale of...the short distances between life and death, sanity and madness, in a violent world. -- Dallas Morning News