Posts tagged ‘literature’

October 5, 2014

Should you read it? A Consumer’s Guide to the Bookshelves: The Resurrection of Rey Pescador

Should you read it? A Consumer’s Guide to the Bookshelves: The Resurrection of Rey Pescador, the debut novel from Chicago author Alfred Cedeno. (Yes, I confess; what follows is a blatant mimicry of Mark Lisanti’s regular pieces on Grantland.)

Q: Do you like books?

A: This is a silly question. If you don’t like books, you probably won’t read one, in particular this one. You should probably go home and reexamine your life.

If you do like books, you should enjoy this one. Cedeno offers solid writing without being self-indulgent and florid. His story pays homage to the Homeric classics and the Romantic character of Rey Pescador hearkens to Pablo Neruda, albeit with a hip-hop twist. The text is rife with references to Cedeno’s literary education which you’re likely to notice.

Read it.

Q: Is dense nonfiction your literary style?

A: Meh, don’t read it.

Q: Do you only read Harlequin-esque romances?

A: As much as Rey Pescador makes everyone swoon, this is probably not your type of book.

Q: Was that gratuitous comparison of Rey’s character to Neruda a stretch at best and completely erroneous at worst?

A: Probably, but you should still read it.

Q: Is the pursuit of Beauty your life’s overwhelming goal?

A: If Beauty is not your life’s passion, you might have some trouble identifying with the titular character. However, just because you can’t identify with Rey’s struggles does not mean you won’t find him entertaining.

Beauty is Rey’s omniscient desire. He is The Poet with the penultimate beating human heart in a world of robotic cardiovascular systems. He relentlessly pursues the allure of his muse and her promise of beauty. He translates her Beauty for the world’s populace of robotic fools. His human heart craves adrenaline and he supplies it with hair-raising feats and foolhardy attempts at such feats.

A quick note on Beauty. From a production standpoint, this is a beautiful book. The gorgeous cover illustration and design are perfectly complemented by the soft-touch matte laminate.

Read it.

Q: What about your pursuit of Truth?

A: If you don’t see Rey Pescador in yourself, if you’re more of a fan of truth, then David Rosario, Rey’s cousin and the book’s narrator, might be more your style. Ever the intellectual critic, he sits, observes, and renders verdicts on his cousin’s exploits, all the while envying the glamour those exploits garner. With hindsight’s perspective, he narrates Rey’s holy and profane expeditions to his long time crush, Rebecca. As Rey strives to be a living legend, David writes scathing dissertations and manuscripts against the very artificial hearts that keep him, and the world’s general populace, alive. He is committed to telling the truth behind Rey and the human heart, despite threats from their nemesis, benefactor, and employer, Sid Cutler.

Read it.

Q: Do you enjoy unique narrative structures and devices?

A: Well, I hope at the very least you can appreciate them. Cedeno structures the book as a long letter from Rosario to Rebecca. Because the reader is privy to a private exchange, certain expository points are only alluded to as Rosario’s intended audience would have the necessary background. The letter format allows Cedeno to use more conversational language than would often be preferred in a literary novel. It is still an unusual style, for the entire novel to be a single retrospective letter, and there are occasions where Cedeno wrestles with the confines he has constructed. Despite the challenges of the style, the book itself is successful.

Read it.

Q: Do you like Doctor Who?

A: If you don’t, you should find someone you can trust who does and ask for an introduction to the show. I can’t suggest going at it alone because the first season from 2005 is hard to get into. But power through; it’s worth it.

If you do enjoy the Doctor, this book is right up your alley. Cedeno’s affinity for the show is evident in a number of the story’s features, from alternative Earths, jumbled timelines, artificial organs, larger-than-life characters, robotic ethics, prophets, and more. Like the famed BBC television show, Cedeno sets up black and white, good and evil, and then proceeds to toy with your expectations.

In one of my favorite and very Who-esque lines, buried late in the book, Rosario delivers a lengthy commentary on robotics and artificial hearts and casually mentions that the programming language is not binary code or any other typical computer language, but classical Latin.

Read it.

Q: Do you like your fiction to generate serious introspection through light-hearted means?

A: If so, this is certainly a book you’d enjoy. Cedeno employs science fiction and ridiculous characters, such as a blinged out monkey named Carl, in his exploration of forgiveness and redemption.

Read it.

Q: Are you a human?

A: You should read it.

Q: Are you a robot?

A: You should definitely read it.

To purchase The Resurrection of Rey Pescador online, you can click here. I personally think you should find your local independent bookstore and purchase the book there. It will help if you give them the ISBN 9780990353829. You should certainly not purchase from Amazon.

The Resurrection of Rey Pescador

To comply with new guidelines introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I mention as part of every web or Amazon review that the author provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.