Flight of Souls
Having been raised and abused in foster homes and reform schools, John Alexander, a student of anthropology and folklore, leaves the U. S. and travels to Mexico in search of freedom. He is a troubled young man with a penchant for escapism. “My essence must have either died or gone away… and I knew it, because I could no longer feel ordinary emotions.” After a wild night of drinking and sex at the beach, a diplomat’s wife is murdered, and John gets blamed. First he is beaten up by the Mexican police, then by roguish elements of the U. S. embassy. With a depraved American general in hot pursuit, and thrashed occasionally by the embassy’s Marine security detachment, John travels through Mexico, seeking enlightenment.
In this novel set in Mexico in the early 1960s, John narrates his story with an edgy, sometimes crude style that clashes with sensitive descriptions of the Mexican countryside. The text is pockmarked with strings of ellipses. It shifts confusingly from a cynical to a lyrical voice. The plot also totters between an action thriller with ludicrous twists and an interesting journey toward healing with magical-realism touches. All in all, Flight of Souls is a very bumpy ride.