Picks and Pans Review: Amigoland

updated 08/24/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/24/2009 01:00AM

by Oscar Casares |

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REVIEWED BY BETH PERRY

FICTION
Don Fidencio Rosales once had so many mistresses, he could catalog them in a notebook. Now, age 91, he is in a nursing home, barely in control of his body and angry about it. He and his estranged younger brother Don Celestino haven't spoken in a decade, but a mutual horror of old age draws them back together, and their reunion helps to solve a long-debated family mystery. While occasional stilted dialogue slows the pace, Amigoland's poignant imagery and wisecracking leads make it hard to put down. Casares is at his best when describing the downfall of the fiercely independent Don Fidencio. "My time should have come years ago," he says. "Sometimes I think God forgot about me." Debatable, but readers will remember this well-drawn crank even after this witty, affecting novel's final page.

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