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Library JournalThis oddball homage to Mexico City revolves around Ángel Andrade, a young defeño who leaves home, changes his name to Anhauac, and roams the city fighting injustice. He is surrounded by a host of characters, from upper-class snobs to a former boxer, who comment on the sorry state of the city. Ángel's chapters alternate with baroque ramblings about the city's cruelty, analphabetism, and occasional beauty and with short writings by some of Mexico's foremost authors—from Carlos Fuentes to Octavio Paz. Hernández's elaborate style and sense of humor make some of these chapters very engaging, especially the vivid reminiscences about the 1985 earthquake and the 1968 massacre at Tlatelolco square. However, it often seems that the book's inventiveness is meant to compensate for the author's having no clear idea of what to do with Ángel, who stays diffuse and hollow from the first page to the last. The author even makes frequent asides about the novel he is writing, self-consciously dialoguing with himself and pondering his own wit; eventually, he becomes trapped by his own literary devices. His relentless quest to surprise, move, and awe the reader is praiseworthy, but he only seldom succeeds. Recommended for libraries and bookstores with a strong Mexican literature catalog.—Carlos Rodríguez Martorell, East Elmhurst, NY
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