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The Road to Esmeraldaby Joy Nicholson
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of The Tribes of Palos Verdes, a compelling new novel about a couple's getaway to a Mexican paradise that goes horribly wrong.
Joy Nicholson's second novel, The Road to Esmeralda, is a dark, seductive story about Americans abroad. Fed up with their L.A. lives, Nick and Sarah decide to head south to Mexico. They are looking for something: love, self-fulfillment, inspiration, or even just peace of mind. However, as the roads get windier and the jungle thicker, this naïve pair realizes that all of the trappings of society-greed, drugs, violence and jealousy-exist even in the remotest of places. Even tiny Esmeralda has a secret agenda . . .
While her prose remains hearfelt and spare, Nicholson, in The Road to Esmeralda, also reveals a political edge. In exploring the prejudices of a small Mexican town, she weaves a harrowing and tragic story of love, devastation, and what it means to be a young, intelligent American in a very angry world.
"Los Angelinos Nick Sperry and girlfriend Sarah Gustafsson flee the threat of post-9/11 terrorist attacks and their stagnant lives for the Yucatn jungle in Nicholson's second novel, a suspenseful geopolitical psychodrama (after The Tribes of Palos Verdes). Sarah, a statuesque freelance graphic designer, and Nick, an alcoholic failed writer wrestling with memories of his abusive, deceased father and an unwritten antiwar novel, head to Mexico by car, reluctant to fly while terrorist warnings are high. At the tonier resorts, Europeans and Mexican natives who object to the impending war in Iraq accost Nick and Sarah with anti-American taunts, so the pair travel hundreds of miles further south than they intended, to the tiny town of Esmeralda in the heart of the Yucatn's Caribbean side. They check into the Gasthaus Esmeralda, a walled-in Swiss Family Robinson — style chalet owned by creepy German expatriates Karl and Cordula Von Tollman. Nicholson builds the psychological tension brick by brick and brings the seedy, pathetic Gasthaus Esmeralda to itchy, smelly, sweaty life as the foursome face off in a downward spiral of suspicion and drug-related intrigue. Though chiaroscuro of dark doings juxtaposed against the white heat of the jungle makes for an atmospheric read, the flat ending falls a bit short of the novel's promise. Agent, Betsy Amster. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for The Tribes of Palos Verdes
"The wise, funny, adolescent voice of a female Holden Caulfield, noble and honest . . . A vibrant book, brave and true to a young girl's voice." --Los Angeles Times
"Nicholson captures the California-coast culture. . . Medina shows what it's like to feel '6 million years old' way before your time." --Entertainment Weekly
"A compelling, realistic view of the underbelly of affluent California life."
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