This sumptuously written thriller asks probing questions about how we live with each other and with our planet.
The Cobra is a hard man in a brutal world. Expelled from El Salvador after a drug bust and working as a Guatemalan businessman’s enforcer, he meets and comes to admire Polo, a human rights campaigner who defends the Mayan people. When the Cobra’s boss orders him to murder Polo, a last-minute stab of conscience brings him into conflict with drug-dealing oligarchs. Now a marked man, he’s offered a chance to escape to a remote Mayan community facing down its own assassin: the encroaching mining companies who want the land regardless of their impact on the planet. Can the Cobra change his solipsistic ways and learn to defend a culture caught in the crosshairs of another kind of battle? By the writer Roberto Bolaño has called the most rigorous of his generation, Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s The Country of Toó is gripping thriller about power and redemption.
Praise for Rodrigo Rey Rosa
“Intense … By the end of this novel you feel glad to have come out on the other side and carry the hope that Rodrigo Rey Rosa, those close to him, and his fellow countrymen will do so, too.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Rodrigo Rey Rosa creates stories of mythic proportions.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Human Matter‘s] exploration of the history of violence and secrecy in Central America has obvious relevance to today’s politics, but the tale of a writer trying to understand the truth behind the things he’s seeing gives the novel a resounding, universal echo.”
“Rey Rosa, a Guatemalan writer often compared to Roberto Bolano … was inspired to write a meta-novel about his experiences [visiting Guatemala’s National Police archive] and the stories he uncovered. The result … reads like the journal of a heartbroken researcher who stumbles on the darkest truths about his native country.”
“Wonderful … The tension between the fundamental pleasure of the novel—which comes from trying to piece together meaning out of the disparate information available to us and the narrator’s insistence that it’s futile—creates a weirdly gratifying reading experience.”
—Chicago Review of Books
“To read him is to learn how to write and is also an invitation to the pure pleasure of allowing oneself to be borne along by sinister or fantastic stories … To say that Rey Rosa is the most rigorous writer of my generation, and at the same time the clearest, the one who weaves his stories together best, the most brilliant of them all, is not to say anything new.”