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King of The Moon

by Gene Kira

Review by David "El codo" Eidell

Good novels about Mexico are as rare as a Blue-Eyed Iguana. Many aspiring novelists feel compelled to exaggerate Mexico, which is unfortunate because the real Mexico and real Mexicans are far more fascinating than a Mexico depicted by a runaway imagination.

King of the MoonIn a nutshell, within three hundred forty two pages of "King of The Moon", Gene. Kira constructs an utterly believable saga about life in a remote Baja fish camp in the middle third of this century. The characters are complex and the dangers formidable as the pangueros and their families go about living solely at the whim of the elements. Much to his credit, Gene avoids stereotyping. Differences in culture and customs are presented to the reader at face value.

By the second chapter, I was hooked. The humor is absolutamente Mexicano, and screamingly funny. An example is Socorro Rodriguez. A native of Oaxaca, she periodically torments her husband and best friend with burritos that are heavily laced with a very hot type of chile (referred to as Levanta Muertos in the book).

Another is when Abundio and his best friend are repairing a broken outboard motor by pouring lead in a crack -- some molten lead drips down onto Abundios big toe. After suffering a few moments he cries, "Carajo! There's hot lead on my toe" Chino replies "That isn't possible amigo, if there were hot lead on your toe it would be burning the hell out of you" .

Halfway through the next chapter, I realized that I was on an emotional roller coaster, and could not get off until "The End".

Although King of The Moon has been on bookshelves for a little over a year, I feel that Kira's first novel has achieved the status of a classic work. "King Of The Moon" is on a par with Ray Cannon, John Steinbeck and Erle Stanley Gardner (!)

I am indeed pleased to give The King Of The Moon a (very rare) "Buy it and don't loan it out!" recommendation.

The Best of Mexico: Baja
King of the Moon
King of the Moon

he People's Guide to Mexico
13th edition
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