4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Lucius Shepard is on top form, and this means absolutely spell-binding. I read this novel in one sitting, the way I've tended to read his other work.
Trujillo is grounded in complex psychology and psychopathology, and the 'supernatural' elements are allegorical rather than literal. This makes the story of Trujillo, like all his other writing, universally appealing. The sinister, oppressive pas-de-deux between psychopathic young gringo Stearns and battered, overweight Honduran psychiatrist Dr Ochoa, is gripping because of its many layers. There's the instantly recognisable arrogance of the rich American in a poor Central American backwater, pitted against a fine mind gone to seed in the oppressive poverty, heat and corruption of Honduras. There's the timeless theme of man tormenting woman for his pleasure, and indeed man tormenting man. There's the politics of a dusty, godforsaken Latin American province. I imagine the name Trujillo - also the name of the heinous psychopathic dictator of the Dominican Republic who was renown for his torture methods of innocent people - is not a mere coincidence.
The deeply humane undertones to this profound, savage story of cruelty passed down the generations stamp this hypnotic novel with the Lucius Shepard hallmark where horror and despair almost win against beauty and hope. Almost. There is nothing clear-cut in Trujillo's transgressive worlds, and nothing reassuring.
Lucius Shepard is simply one of the most original and exciting writers working in English today. Why he isn't published in Britain is a mystery that needs an urgent solution.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Henry W. Wagner
- Published on Amazon.com
Widely regarded by many as one of the finest genre writers working today, Lucius Shepard has, in recent years, published a plethora of dark, delightful stories, thrilling his fans and giving award panels plenty to debate. Primarily working in the novella form, which at times seems to have been created especially for him, his eloquence, style, sense of place and troubled protagonists have lately once again raised his already high profile.
A reflection on love, death, virility and redemption, Trujillo is a story you can lose yourself in, a haunting, mesmerizing, wonderfully efficient piece of writing that fully engages each of your senses. Full of surprise, wonder, and sudden brutality, it also strikes a balance noticeably missing from Shepard's recent work, where love does not always prevail (think of the novellas Louisiana Breakdown and The Liar's House). In Trujillo, love leads to ruin, but it also leads to deliverance--it's the powerful juxtaposition of the two results that allows the novel to be characterized as both a triumph and a tragedy, making for a truly memorable reading experience.