Tears of the Trufflepig by Fernando A. Flores

My sister brought me back Tears of the Trufflepig as pasalubong from when she visited Strand in New York. I’m proud to say that I did not wait more than a year to read this book—only five months. At least now I don’t feel like I missed out loving a book for so long. I’m also glad that it was this book she picked up; let’s face it: this isn’t the kind of book readily available in mainstream bookstores here in Metro Manila.

The story is divided into two (and a half-ish) parts. Part one mainly sets up the stage: sometime in the future, along the border of United States (Texas) and Mexico. The story moved at a slow pace at first, though, to be honest, I still had a little bit of a difficult time following the characters as I was getting to know the world Flores built. After everything sinks in, part two goes by quickly. It’s action-packed with some cringe-worthy scenes here and there. (Or maybe I’m just easily grossed out… Yeah, that could be it.)

While the story is meant to be set in the future (there are border walls in the story already), I felt that the depiction of business and politics in the story is characteristic of today (or it could be). I appreciated the blend of science and rituals; living in the Philippines, it’s not so strange to hear that people still take their sick to the abularyo (witch doctor) even if Metro Manila has hospitals and modern medicine available.

Sprinkled across the pages were Spanish words, sentences, and verses. I liked this touch. Sometimes some thoughts and emotions are best expressed in the language closest to home. (Surprise, surprise, the main character is Mexican-American.) Unfortunately for me, I don’t speak, read, nor write in Spanish, so most of the sentences and verses flew right past my head. I wish there were translations on a footnote or in parentheses, so that I could know the characters’ thoughts and memories and connect with them more. Ah, well. Maybe it’s time to learn Spanish.

Verdict: Loved it. I am already telling my friends to read it. I’m ready to lend my copy out.

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