Fernando A. Flores’s debut novel is well-crafted, frightening, and not as outlandish or as inconceivable as it should be

ABSURDIST FICTION

Fernando A. Flores

Tears of the Trufflepig: A Novel

MCD x FSG Originals

Paperback (also available as an e-book and an audiobook), 978-0-3745-3833-0, 336 pgs., $16

May 14, 2019

 

Fernando A. Flores’s debut novel, Tears of the Trufflepig, is audacious and imaginative, with layers of complexity that are entertaining to excavate and digest.

 

Estaban Bellacosa’s curious story begins while he is doing his job of locating hard-to-find equipment, in this case a 7900 Rig used for digging large holes. After meeting with Tranquilino and arranging the rig’s financial transaction and transport, Bellacosa begins a strange encounter with an unfathomable level of greed that touches every aspect of humankind, including political, environmental, societal, cultural, mythical, racial, and ideological. The implications and consequences of greed on both sides of the Mexico/South Texas border reign supreme as Bellacosa continues this ghastly journey after accepting investigative reporter Paco Herbert’s invitation to attend an illegal, secretive dinner.

 

Filtering, or engineering, animals to address famine is one thing, but what happens when animals are brought back from extinction or when creatures are patchworked together simply to feed and amuse the elite? Reminiscent of The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, Tears of the Trufflepig presents a gruesome, unethical, and immoral society that refuses to admit it has gone too far. In addition to providing filtered animals, suppliers of commodities for the wealthy are always looking for ways to keep that cash flowing, such as exploiting the ancient practice of creating shrunken heads.

 

The trufflepig is worthy of an in-depth study all its own. According to the information that Bellacosa and Paco dig up about the Aranaña tribe, the trufflepig is believed to exist in the dream state, but what happens when the trufflepig is filtered into reality? This animal is unable to walk, and its ineffective means of communication include wagging a stubby tail and shedding milky tears, possibly representing an impoverished population’s overall lack of autonomy and voice to protest, defend, and preserve.

 

The story shifts slightly when Bellacosa’s curiosity proves dangerous, and he finds himself in an absurd yet terrifying predicament. Reality and dreams converge, confuse, and confound in Tears of the Trufflepig as both Bellacosa and Paco try to make sense of what is happening in such an unscrupulous society. “If we remember dreams more vividly than actual experiences, which would be the true reality? What if what you once thought to be a memory never existed?”

 

Tears of the Trufflepig is certainly baffling at times, but this compelling novel is ultimately a warning of what gluttony, corruption, and total disregard for life can do to humanity if left unchecked. Displacement, exploitation, and death await those who are unable to fight back, protect themselves, or even voice an opinion. Like the trufflepig, defenseless victims are at the mercy of those who have the mobility, the means, and the power to influence the masses, stoke fear of the unknown, appeal to the wealthy’s insatiable desire for exclusivity and status, and profit from anything worth stealing.

 

Flores’s fascinating voice and writing style keep readers engaged throughout the intricate pieces of his unusual plot, luring them into a perplexing web with dramatic and often humorous prose and sophisticated characterization. Tears of the Trufflepig is gritty and convincing and offers a well-crafted, frightening glimpse into a worldview that is unfortunately not as outlandish or as inconceivable as it should be.

 

Fernando A. Flores was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and raised in the U.S. His debut novel, Tears of the Trufflepig, was released May 14, 2019 by MCD x FSG Originals. He is also the author of the story collection, Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas, released by Host Publications in 2018. As a photographer Flores had his first solo exhibition at South Texas College during the fall of 2010.

 

Flores was the recipient of a 2014 literary award from the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications since 2006, and he was featured as one of “Ten Writers to Watch” in the October 2015 issue of Texas Monthly. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, the poet Taisia KitaiskaiaVisit him online here http://thewriterflores.com/ and on Instagram here @f.a.flores.