--James Ellroy, author of LA Confidential
Years ago, Eddie Yates disappeared into the rainforests of the Yucatan, a burned-out visionary in search of cosmic truth. A mysterious photo sends Lindsey, his ex-wife, on a quest to bring him back and puts her on a collision course with Eddie's brother Thomas, whose desire for her has never faded.
Their search leads them to the ruined Mayan temples of NaChan, deep in the jungle, where mushrooms grow that can send you back through time--or kill you.
NaChan is sacred to the Landon Indians, and their enigmatic shaman Chan Ma'ax. But the ruins have also become a nexus for the political forces that are tearing Mexico apart. Lindsey, Thomas, and Eddie are soon caught between Carla's rebel army and the secret US paramilitary group known as the Fighting 666th as they face off in the first battle of the end of the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There¿s been a lot of talk lately about the end of the world in 2012 based on the Mayan calendar ending it¿s last cycle. In Deserted Cities of the Heart, Lewis Shiner was ahead of the game when he wrote in 1988! As the Indians in the book say, the end of the world has to start some place. Deserted Cities is something like you¿d get if you mixed Carlos Castaneda¿s Don Juan, with Burroughs/Ginsburg¿s The Yage Letters, and a bit of Paddy Chayefsky¿s Altered States thrown in. Deserted Cities is about rock star Eddie Yates who disappears from public life. With the help on an Indian shaman he discovers a psychedelic mushroom that sends you on a literal trip, it will take you to the past. Your past, or to the ancient Mayan past. Eddie is followed by his brother Thomas Yates who is an anthropologist and Eddie¿s ex-wife, Lindsey who try to rescue Eddie from self-destruction. It`s a story of sex, drugs, rock `n¿ roll, time travel, Mexican revolutionaries, and the Mayan end of days.Shiner¿s early novels have been described as cyberpunk, whose best known adherent is William Gibson. I¿m don¿t really understand the label in this case. Deserted Cities is a well written pretty traditionally formatted novel. The action cinematically, ramping up the action for a climatic ending.Deserted Cities is Shiner¿s second novel. It was originally published in 1988. Although it uses the political situation in the plot, none of the story or action feels dated. I guess the more politics changes, the more it stays the same. With the talk of the end of the world in 2012 courtesy of the Mayan calendar it¿s a good time for a republication of Deserted Cities. If you¿ve read a lot of Shiner¿s later novels, as I have, it¿s interesting to see his subconscious already working with some common elements, a time traveling protagonist whose trips to the past aren¿t very healthy for him, disappearing rock stars, Jimi Hendrix, which are precursors of his later works such as Glimpses. In using these elements you can see the evolution of Shiner as a writer.
Pretty good book ... involves hallucinogenic mushrooms, Mayan religion, etc., w/modern-day (late 1980s) Mexican revolution ... terrible, terrible ending though.