A BULLET IN HIS HEAD

A BULLET IN HIS HEAD

AGUIRRE, MANUEL

S/ 65.00
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Editorial:
NN.PP (IBERO)
Materia
Literatura
ISBN:
978-0-692-76401-5

At twelve thousand feet above sea level, and fifteen miles from the fabled Lake Titicaca, the Ninantaya Hacienda is part of a cold, arid “lunar landscape” where men are forced to coexist with death on a daily basis. It is on this FOB that Second Lieutenant Gerardo Arrieta, and the ten soldiers under his command, must contend against not only the harsh weather and environment of the Altiplano, but also against bloodthirsty smugglers frequently infiltrating Peru’s border with Bolivia to bring anything from electronics, clothing, and food, to firearms, and drugs. Second Lieutenant Arrieta knows that he is living in the mid 1960’s, but for the mostly Aimara speaking indigenous population surrounding him, Time simply does not exist. Only the four seasons set the pace of their day-to-day feudal existence in which they are more dependent on the actions of the medicine man, Yatiri, and the smugglers’ boss, known as the Ghost, than they are on the authority of the Spanish speaking military forces. Yet, when one of the smugglers, whom the local Aimaras claim is the devil incarnate, proves himself determined to put an end to Arrieta’s life, the young agnostic officer, like the hacienda’s colonos, is forced to put his fate in Yatiri’s hands as well. Lovers of Latin American fiction will find this violently beautiful work of surrealistic transgressive-fiction to be an essential addition to their personal libraries for it is written in the same literary vein as some of the best Latin American works of the 20th century such as Pedro Paramo, The Time of the Hero (a.k.a. The City and the Dogs) and A Chronicle of a Death Foretold. However, those serious readers who are as yet unfamiliar with the great Latin American literary tradition are sure to find that the protagonist of A Bullet in His Forehead, the second lieutenant Gerardo Arrieta, bears resemblance with Don Quixote. The second lieutenant cannot help but think beyond his actions; it is as if he were under a perpetual attack from his physical and psychological state, simultaneously. As such, the administrator of the Ninantaya Hacienda’s existentialist dilemma also evinces parallels with characters in other great literary works (such as Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, Lord Jim, and The Stranger) thus allowing this author to transcend any cultural barriers. Although A Bullet in His Forehead is a novel (in that it is the first part of a saga about the coming of age of Second Lieutenant Gerardo Arrieta) the fragmented nature of this narrative allows it also to be read as a collection of short stories where time is shown to be cyclical in nature, and each “chapter’s story” is imbued with a life and death of its own while at the same time being thirteen pieces of a fascinating jigsaw puzzle which the author, Manuel Aguirre, ultimately challenges the reader to put together for his or herself.

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