David Lynch goes film noir

Dancing to “Almendra”   by Mayra Montero; 2005, translated 2007; $25.00; 264 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY; 978-0-374-10277-5; Fiction; checked out from the Cedar Mill Library through the Multnomah County Library Interlibrary Loan Program; 6/13/14-6/19/14

Set in Havana in 1957 this is the story of a young reporter, Joaquin Porrata,  who starts on the entertainment beat and ends up running afoul of General Batistas’ men, George Raft and Meyer Lansky and the mob.  He begins by investigating the death of a hippo at the zoo and that gets involved in the mob, with a one armed woman and her aerialist son.  His family and friends are an intriguing bunch of characters who seem fully developed while at the same time somewhat stereotypical.  The author does a great job of keeping the suspense high while we engage with the characters.  He finds love and learns many life lessons through his ongoing investigations and the events that befall he and his family.

Did I like it?  I certainly did.  An engaging cast of characters, a scintillating plot and a setting of beauty.  The author paints well with words, I bet this was even better in Spanish (if I read Spanish), where it wouldn’t lose anything in translation.  It is an awesome book, if I have time I will read more by Ms. Montero.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  The book has a noir feel to it but there are enough odd elements to the story that Director David Lynch would probably feel at home with this.

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