Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Curse the Names Paperback – December 27, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Dr. Mano Rodriguez is caught up in intrigue in this thoughtful, lushly detailed neo-noir . . . Much Spanish dialogue, with prompts in English on more difficult words, deepens the sense of locale."
--"Publishers Weekly" on "Havana Lunar"
"A sad, surreal, beautiful tour of the hell that was Cuba in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The writing is hypnotic, the storytelling superb. "Havana Lunar" is perfect."
--Tim McLoughlin, author of "Heart of the Old Country, " editor of "Brooklyn Noir" on "Havana Lunar"
"Arellano engages the reader immediately by quickly developing his characters into unique individuals, both good and bad . . . "Havana Lunar" is not bashful in its presentation of Cuba and its seamy side: Arellano is savvy and able to show caring families while also introducing the reader to the grittier side . . . The detail is impressive . . . Arellano is masterful, weaving both the physical and emotional into a story everyone can relate to i
"In this unsettling mix of noir and paranormal obsession . . . Arellano displays a sly, Hitchcockian touch."
"Arellano pulls off the not-inconsiderable feat of making the disintegration of his hero more compelling than the end of the world as we know it."
"Arellano's taut prose [is] a trip into the mind of a man on the edge of delirium, piecing together a puzzle at the expense of his marriage and his sanity."
From the Publisher
Robert Arellano, author of the Edgar-nominated crime novel Havana Lunar, returns with another spine-tingling noir from Akashic Books.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The only character we get to know is the main character, and he's not likable. He's an arrogant drunk who might be crazy and pops a seemingly endless supply of Oxycodone while always high on marijuana. The plot moves along quickly, but drags us down random paths and leaves us hanging to figure out the scenery.
That being said, there is something oddly compelling about the prose. I'm just not sure what that something is.
The house fascinates and repels him, and he ultimately comes to believe that somehow it has cursed him, because after he visits the house he begins losing everything, including, (perhaps?), his mind. He is plagued by visions of death by a radioactive incident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and embarks on a journalistic quest to discover the truth behind the house, the Lab, and his own sanity.
Curse the Names by Robert Arellano is a unique story. It is not tidily wrapped up at the end, which leaves the reader unsettled (hence, my "disturbing" comment earlier). I felt that the ending was appropriately unclear, a bit like Jame's own mind. A thought-provoking, interesting, and nightmarish story, which I greatly enjoyed.
What's Curse the Names like? Publisher's Weekly described Arellano as showing a "sly Hitchcockian touch." Not exactly. It's more like Arellano is the love child of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch, abandoned in the woods and raised by Hunter S. Thompson. His writing is fast-paced and chilling, as he takes his protagonist on an out-of-control quest to understand why his life is unraveling.
James Oberhelm is a public relations writer for the fictional in-house magazine Surge published by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He writes puff pieces on the gardens and miniatures tended by retired scientists so that they feel appreciated. Oberhelm, however, is tightly wound, bored with his job and his wife and self-medicating with booze and drugs. As he takes on an unsuccessful erotic errand leading him to an abandoned house and a bag of bones, a paranormal mystery grips his life. Fueled by scotch and codeine, Oberhelm tries to prevent an armeggedon. It's all downhill from there and not in a good way. Oberhelm loses his jobs, his wife, his job, his car, and eventually his sanity. He is a signature Arellano protagonist--a not-initially-likeable character who grows on you as his life falls apart. And yes, Arellano kills a dog. Named Oppie.
Curse the Names takes us to the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, leaving behind the urban surreal of Arellano's previous books. But this is southwestern surreal with more than a few a few shots of noir thrown in as characters casually betray one another. There's a long-nailed Goth blood tech, a hippie identity thief, a boozy family doctor, a malevolent g-man, end-of-the- worlders, and some scientists who know too much and say too little. Curse the Names has tight noirish writing and 1940s characters spun for the 21st century. Through James Oberhelm, we see how our decisions start chain reactions that take down more than we can know.
And the end is literally earth-shaking.
--Ed Battistella, on Literary Ashland
James is the kind of guy that I don't want to like but I couldn't help feeling sorry for him every once in awhile as I was reading. The marriage dynamic and just the everyday routine of the character was, I am sad to say, believable. The flow and pacing is just incredible which means I didn't get bored or impatient. I found it predictable, but wasn't disappointed when I finished. The story was not the strong point for me, but I still enjoyed reading it.
I think there is a great story here but it just didn't quite do it for me. The pacing was engaging and I certainly was able to visalize the character and scenes. I think the author almost delivered on this one and could have knocked this one out of the park with a few tweaks to the storyline.
Would I recommened this one? Probably not. I will however be looking forward to the next book by this author because I think he has tremendous imagination and potential.