Luis Jorge Boone: Las afueras [The Outskirts]

The latest addition to my website is Luis Jorge Boone‘s Las afueras [The Outskirts]. Boone is a Mexican writer, mainly known for his poetry and short stories (one collection has been translated into English) but this is his only novel, not translated into English or any other language. It does not really have a plot, except partially following the stories of two estranged brothers, James and William, both of whom are irredeemably gloomy and miserable, with William, thinking about effecting a reconciliation with his brother, just prior to being killed in a bus crash early in the book. This is just one of several fatal accidents (of which Boone gives us detailed descriptions). The brothers live in the Northern Mexican state of Coahuila and seem to spend much time on the road. The region is essentially desert but has its own secrets, both biological, with rare fauna and flora as well strange events and structures. We follow the stories of William, James and others, all of whom seem to be miserable and depressed but none more so than the two brothers with a sad and cruel emptiness in their lives. It is certainly a well written book and may well show what contemporary Mexico feels like to its inhabitants, but it is not a book to make you laugh.

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