Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nearly Done with the Trujillo Trilogy

Well, there may be more than just a trilogy, but as far as this gringa knows, the three iconic books that attempt to portray the soul crushing carnage that Dominicans suffered under the dictator Trujillo.

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

The intrigue, the ins and outs and who hid the bodies during the final days of Trujillo in the early 1960s. A study of the man himself: An incontinent blowhard with true God complex. I never thought about the the role the U.S. played in the Dominican Republic in the Kennedy, anti-Castro times. Fascinating stuff.

In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

The tragic tale of the sainted Mirabal sisters who fought back, were jailed and then executed by Trujillo's men. A beautifully told story, from the memories of the one Mirabal sister who lived and the overwhelming legacy she must live with.

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

It supposedly took Diaz 10 years to write this book. And goddamn him because he makes it read so easy. This book takes us to Paterson, NJ to Washington Height, to Santa Domingo. It's a mother-daughter tale. It's a gotta-get-laid tale. It's a political terror story. It's a prison horror story. It's a fat kid's story. It's a story for those who like comic books and sci fi. It's one of the best books I've ever read. I read it in one sitting and read the last 5 pages again and again, not wanting it to end.

Any more Trujillo tales worth reading? I'll take any old horrific dictator that has inspired masterful writing...

Oh, and in case you were wondering if that new guy Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo (the guy that replaced Jason Newsted, I think) is not related to the Dominican dictator. I was curious, I Googled it... I think he's off the hook.

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