Synopses & Reviews
"Hey, what's up, come a little closer, I have something to tell you," God said to Cornelio. The deal was simple: God would be the silent partner in the norteño band that Cornelio had started with his best friend Ramon. Cornelio would sing and play the bajo sexto, Ramon the accordion, and God would write the songs. Cornelio agreed; he would sell his soul to God.
Success and disaster followed. The band went from playing bars in Tijuana to playing the biggest stadiums in Mexico. Women started fan clubs dedicated to their heroes Ramon and Cornelio. It seemed to Cornelio and Ramon that they had everything, but fame was a cruel mistress. Ramon and Cornelios story has some loose parallels to a real Mexican band, but its also the apocryphal story of the Beatles and the kids tuning up in the garage down the street.
Luis Humberto Crosthwaite is an award-winning writer, editor, and journalist who teaches at the University of Iowa. His fiction has garnered critical attention for his ability to express the complexities of living on the US/Mexico border. Among his best known books are Estrella de la Calle Sexta, Aparta de mí este Cáliz, Idos de la Mente, Instrucciones para Cruzar la Frontera, and Tijuana: Crimen y Olvido. His translated novels are The Moon Will Forever be a Distant Love and Out of Their Minds. He is also co-editor of Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots, and Graffiti from the US/Mexico Border.
"Crosthwaite's second translation into English (after The Moon will Forever Be a Distant Love) follows two Mexican musicians, Ramon and Cornelio, friends since childhood, on a journey that includes the formation , unlikely success, and dissolution, of their phenomenally popular norteno band, Los Relampagos del Agosto. A light read with a preponderance of zippy, half-page-long chapters, feels like a short story inflated to novella length. That is not to say that the book is an unpleasant experience; Crosthwaite offers a few interesting flourishes, as when God occasionally insinuates himself into the narration as a kind of minor character. However, too little lingers after the final page is turned. This may be because it too often echoes, almost beat-for-beat, either the story points of a typical Behind the Music episode, or a retooling of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's troubled friendship unsubtly mapped to the backdrop of the norteno music scene. That conceit, unfortunately, falls short of justifying the reader's time. Peopled with personalities that are more archetypes than dynamic characters, and with a plot whose rhythms are played with regularity, the fiction is just not as engaging as the reality. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Cinco Puntos' translation of this Mexican cult classic is the wisest American appropriation of south-of-the-border smarts since the taco. The rip-roaring allegory of Mexican music legends reads like Voltaire drunk on tequila." Gustavo Arellano
, OC Weekly editor, author of ¡Ask a Mexican!
"Wry, lyrical and frequently funny, the story of Ramón and Cornelio is indeed incredible and sometimes sad; but the music plays on and we continue to revel in it. … A bizarre and entertaining tale of two Mexican norteño musicians guided by God--and the price they pay for their fame." — Shelf Awareness
God's favorite music is norteño corridos? A rockin' novel about Mexico, music, and the rock star lifestyle.
About the Author
Luis Humberto Crosthwaite: Luis is an award winning writer, editor and journalist who teaches at the University of Iowa. His fiction has garnered critical attention for his ability to express the complexities of living on the US/Mexico border.
Among his best known books are Estrella de la Calle Sexta, Aparta de mí este Cáliz, Idos de la Mente, Instrucciones para Cruzar la Frontera, and Tijuana: Crimen y Olvido. His translated novels are The Moon will Forever be a Distant Love, and Out of their Minds. He is also coeditor of Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots, and Graffiti from the US/Mexico Border.