Hunting the Last Wild Man

Hunting the Last Wild Man

by Angela Vallvey
     
 

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Falling somewhere between Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, Hunting the Last Wild Man tells the story of Candela and her extended family of nine women. Our protagonist has had her disappointments in love and floats from one job to another, ending up at the local mortuary as an apprentice embalmer.

Overview

Falling somewhere between Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, Hunting the Last Wild Man tells the story of Candela and her extended family of nine women. Our protagonist has had her disappointments in love and floats from one job to another, ending up at the local mortuary as an apprentice embalmer. There she can tuck herself away from the everyday hubbub of life’s demands.
Late one night Candela finds she must work on the father of a gypsy clan, who has left instructions that he must be buried with his cane. Her days are changed forever when she discovers that the cane holds more than just the old man’s wishes.
With rich images suggestive of an Almódovar film, with emotional depth and intelligence, Vallvey explores the modern woman’s cynicism, as Candela attempts to integrate an impossibly marvelous stranger into her life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"One can't expect to understand everything," says Candela March, narrator of Spanish author Vallvey's first American publication. But this deeply thoughtful book seems to want to do just that. Fond of quoting ancient Greek philosophers and putting events in the context of modern psychotherapy, Candela is a modern woman trapped in a family of five dysfunctional sisters reminiscent of those in Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba. A brainy, sharp-tongued, self-styled loner and apprentice embalmer at a local mortuary, Candela has a defining moment while preparing the body of a local gypsy patriarch. The clan leader has requested that he be buried with his hat, his cane and a portrait of the king, but Candela finds a secret cache that could make her rich, if she can resolve a moral crisis. Meanwhile, she attempts to cope with a mysterious love interest and deal with the infidelities of her pregnant sister's husband, who apparently fancies himself an amateur porn star. Candela struggles to hide a tender heart with the cynical posturing of youth, but the reader is acutely aware of her longing to be loved and the fierce protectiveness she feels for her family. Vallvey's language is playful and inventive, the narrative well paced and involving. But although the plot is full of shocking little twists, it's Candela's voice that compels attention, more than the events that surround her. Her questing nature finds expression in funny and touching ways, making her an engaging heroine. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A raucous debut by Spanish author Vallvey, with Gypsies, jewel thieves, morticians, and sibling rivalry (female variant) all mixed into one palette like so many shades of lurid crimson. A house of nine women and no men is going to be full of stories just about anywhere-but in Spain it will be a virtual Decameron. Perhaps that is why narrator Candela works at a morgue, where she is able to talk to her clients without being interrupted. Candela's younger sister Gador has recently moved back home after discovering a cache of videotapes on which her husband Victor filmed himself committing serial adultery with a wide assortment of near-strangers. She and Candela share a room. Just down the hall are their sisters Carmina, Paula, Bely, and Brandy, their widowed Mama, and their Grandma and Aunt Mary. Compared to such a domestic hothouse, the morgue is an oasis of calm-until the arrival of Joaquin, the Gypsy patriarch who arrives for burial in a top hat and cane. Inside the cane (which rigor mortis has permanently attached to Joaquin's right hand) Candela discovers a pile of diamonds and deftly pockets them. Later, she falls in love with Amador, Joaquin's son, who apparently knew nothing of the cane's contents. Did anyone, other than Joaquin himself? Imagine living in a madhouse where you have a fortune tucked away in some dresser drawer. Then ask yourself which is the better risk: sell the stolen goods that will purchase your freedom but might bring a long stint in jail; or stay cooped up with eight other neurotics like yourself. Don't take too long answering that one. Funny, fresh, and briskly written: a good start by a quick study.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609802363
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

ANGELA VALLVEY made her reputation in her native Spain as a writer of young adult fiction with the popular The Sentimental Life of Bugs Bunny. She received the Jaén Poetry Award 1998 for her El tamaño del universo (The Size of the Universe). This is her first publication in English. Vallvey lives in Spain.

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