Every once and awhile I get lucky enough and stumble across an author of whom I have never heard, but should have; it was a pleasant surprise to discover Mexico’s very own, Guillermo Arriaga early last week at a used bookstore in South Denver.
The novel, “The Night Buffalo,” is the first of three to be published in the United States. Arriaga’s knack to craft such a multifarious plot into fluid and poetic narrative will come as no revelation to the fans of his Academy Award nominated films, “21 Grams and Amores Perros.”
So begins the story of a previously shy and presently disheveled Gregorio Valdez who succumbs to madness by placing a .38 Brazilian revolver to his head. In the wake of the tragic discovery of his blood drenched corpse, the lives of those most intimate unravel into a state beyond repair. His at once dear friend Manuel finds himself behind bars after viciously unloading a pistol into the flesh of an innocent jaguar at the local zoo. Valdez’s sometimes novia Tania magically disappears and reappears only to find there is no escaping the madness of Gregorio’s spell.
Ultimately, those dear to Valdez realize there is no freedom from the grasp of the once withdrawn boy who has gone mad by earwigs and pesadillas of a heavy huffing buffalo. “The last message I got from Gregorio consisted of an envelope with three earwigs and a white, bloodspattered card with the phrase: The night buffalo dreams of us,” reveals Manuel. “I never found out who send it.” Manuel knew exactly who had penned such a mad letter with added ephemera; he simply was refusing to acknowledge nightmare for reality.
Having since read Arriaga’s other two novels, it is safe to say he is worth the read.
Then Night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriaga published by Simon & Schuster, 2007