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Tears of the Trufflepig

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Near future. South Texas. Narcotics are legal and there’s a new contraband on the market: ancient Olmec artifacts, shrunken indigenous heads, and filtered animals—species of animals brought back from extinction to clothe, feed, and generally amuse the very wealthy. Esteban Bellacosa has lived in the border town of MacArthur long enough to know to keep quiet and avoid the d ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by MCD X Fsg Originals
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Mel The treatment of the animals as described is brief but alarming, like snapshots. Sometimes saying very little activates the imagination to conjure up…moreThe treatment of the animals as described is brief but alarming, like snapshots. Sometimes saying very little activates the imagination to conjure up and dwell on horrifying images. Such was my experience with this book.
The filtered animals reminded me of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake creatures -- the pigoons. rackunks, wolvogs, and chickienobs...bioengineering, as well as society, gone totally amok. To tell you more would be to reveal too much. (less)

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Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
When pigs fly, Bellacosa thought. That's what the saying used to be, but nowadays we see pigs fly every day. Fat super rich, homicidal, stinking of impunity, greedy for even more power and making the weak suffer. The saying should be, "When pigs fry their own bacon," a voice peeling down from the kitchen's blue wallpaper seemed to respond.

I rarely buy new books, but this one was such a perfect combination of great title + great cover, I had to have it. I only wish I had enjoyed it more. Don't get me wrong - it was
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mexico, usa, 2019-read
Nominated for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize 2019
In this dystopia, there are three border walls between Mexico and the US, the cartels are holding scientists hostage to make them artificially reproduce strange extinct animals, and the shrunken heads of the local Aranaña tribe are in high demand in the world of organized crime on both sides of the border - yes, it's weird, and that's just the beginning. Enter Esteban Bellacosa, freelance South Texas construction equipment locator and man o
Uriel Perez
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Each page of Fernando A. Flores's debut novel, 'Tears of the Trufflepig,' brims with a confection of absurdity and hilarity. In it, Flores places us in near future South Texas where the US has erected a third border wall and Mexican cartels pedal extinct fauna to the ultra-rich. At its heart is Esteban Bellacosa, a throwback to the swashbuckling vaqueros of elderdays, and Gonzo reporter Paco Herbert; both are caught in a conspiracy by these crime syndicates to hijack ancient artifacts, a conspir ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
like a dose, this book sneaks up on you. KIRKUS in surprisingly spot-on namecheckery says: "Warren Ellis and Jeff Vandermeer, with a rustic patina that nods to the likes of Jonathan Lethem’s well-worn detectives..." or this from Harper's: "a cross between Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and a narconovela"

In Tears of the Trufflepig, the metaphor and actuality of the borderlands shimmer together into a vision of haptic, granular, and superbly controlled, convincing real
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
so much to undoubtedly unpack here, but the way this marvelously hallucinogenic novel portrayed and revered each and every female character was by and large the greatest delight.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: Tears of the Trufflepig
Author: Fernando A. Flores
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MCD x FSG Originals
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Review Date: June 22, 2019

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“A parallel universe. South Texas. A third border wall might be erected between the United States and Mexico, narcotics are legal and there’s a new contraband on the market:
Scott Semegran
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a novel of speculative fiction that takes places at the Texas border in an alternate reality where drugs are legal and the new contraband is ancient Olmec artifacts, shrunken indigenous heads, and filtered (resurrected) animals. The main character, Bellacosa, works as a glorified repo man and, when he befriends a reporter named Paco, is introduced to this underground world of corruption and bizarre animal resurrections for the filthy rich to enjoy. The titular Trufflepig is the most priz ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Flores and his trufflepig definitely deserved more from me as a reader than the 'read a page, set it down, read a page, set it down, check my phone, fret, and be distracted by everything' lack of attention that was all I've been capable of over the past two weeks. I'm going to read this again someday when I can give it the concentration it deserves and then I'll really be able to tell you all what I strongly suspect, that this book is genius.
Carly Friedman
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars for this fascinating, creative, and very trippy novel. It is set in the future on the Texas/Mexico border. In this future, there are three huge border walls. There was a global food shortage so scientists were pushed to develop ways to make fake plants and animals. Then Mexico gangs started kidnapping scientists and forcing them to recreate extinct animals. A large black market developed for these animals for food. The main character, Esteban Bellacosa, finds his way to one of these se ...more
Alex O'Connor
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I loved the weird, futuristic feel to it. I loved the premise. I loved the prose. I will be watching Fernando Flores career with interest.

Cathy Sites
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book has a lot of unrealized other readers stated the first 100 pages you just want to give up. By the time the "dinner" comes around you're interested, but where it falls flat throughout are where legends and characters are mentioned and rarely fully developed as the book continues on. Great ideas and a good start, just doesn't hold together overall.
Paolo Latini
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: americans, 2019
Tears of the Trufflepig confirms Flores’ visionary vein: here we are in a dystopian America, where drugs have become legal and have arisen other darker forms of smuggling and illegality. Tears of the Trufflepig is a splendid fresco suspended between noir, sci-fi, horror and the new narrative of racial and cultural integration, it tells our times with a freshness and an imaginative eccentricity reminiscent of Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music (but also and for many reasons also the Lethem of Th ...more
Emma Saks
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
TRULY one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. This is especially saying a lot since I typically stick to essay collections & memoirs lately. Flores’ work is like reading magic. Rich, vibrant, ethereal. Please give this unique novel a chance; it is by far one of the most creative, strange, and satisfying dystopian/magical realist novels I’ve read. Could read it 5 more times just to more fully take it in and devour its complexities all over again.
Diane Hernandez
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Tears of the Trufflepig is a surrealistic deep dive into where our current cultural road may lead. Tense US/Mexico border relations, genetically modified food, and a further divide between the haves and the have nots are all here.

In the future, worldwide food shortages have decimated the world’s population. Scientists have found a method of generating synthetic food. Drugs are legal in the US so Mexican cartels sell filtered animals to the rich. Filtered animals are genetically modif
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a strange and wonderful novel-- set in a somewhat distant but still pretty recognizable future where someone created a machine that allows for all needs to be met-- food, but also drugs and odd extinct species, the story takes place on the Texas-Mexico border, around McAllen. There's the return of a lost Indian tribe, some narco-gang violence, some weird foods and weird cigarettes to smoke, all wrapped up in this strange conspiracy that maybe explains everything about why people today f ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like this is a book that I’m gonna be processing for a long time, and I already know that I want to re-read it. It’s a dystopia unlike any I’ve read before, as if Atwood’s Oryx & Crake was reimagined on the border of Texas and Mexico and cartels were now in control of scientific progress. It was beautiful and disturbing and somehow showed the worth that still exists in our/a broken world.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: listened-to
This came highly recommended at one of my favorite bookstores. I didn’t love it, but I’m not sure if that’s because it’s not my genre and not great on audio, or if it’s actually too confusing.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heavy dose of magical realism, an unlikely protagonist, a landscape in the future that may be more real than we dare to admit, ancient myths and dreams.
What can I say? I loved it.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As left field as the title. The kind of US-Mexico borderlands mystical science fiction that reminds one of William Burroughs.
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This is the blood South Texas makes you sweat.”
Noah Marcus
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The first third of the book was slow, and that slowness highlighted issues I had with the book that probably would have been forgivable had the book been more like its last third the whole time. The dialogue was stunted, with characters ranting at our empty protagonist for pages and pages. We followed Bellacosa doing boring chores for his job, with little reasons to turn to the next page.

But then everything changes after he goes to the "dinner." Things started to connect, the pace definitely pi
Ian Carpenter
Jul 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Abandoned 75 pages in. Struggled to connect and understand and the bits I was clicking with felt like far too easy substitutions of animals for drug smuggling and so the mechanics of that really didn't excite me (after reading thousands of pages of Don Winslow's Cartel writings).
Elliott Turner
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A wildly imaginative spec fic noir where the uber rich combine cloning with organic 3D printing to create extinct then eat them at swanky exclusive dinner parties.

The setting, pacing, and plot are very well done - I lived in "Edinburgh City" for many years, and Flores knows the RGV quite well. The Birch Trees, mezquites, the Veracruz tamales, the champurrado, etc. The humor is also spot on, even if you may feel some Catholic guilty at laughing at the minuscia with the larger big pi
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“This is the blood South Texas makes you sweat.”
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've wanted to read this ever since I read the title in my report--and Flores did not disappoint. Perhaps not as totally bonkers as I expected, but somehow that made it work even better. It's more fantastic than Robin Sloan's Sourdough but only because the world is slightly different than ours--though realistically so. Realistically enough that I was a bit horrified when I read his description of the border between the U.S. and Mexico, because it sounds much more plausible than a wall.

Also...I think w
Nicole Overmoyer
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why did I give Tears of the Trufflepig five stars?

You know, I'm not entirely sure.

Could I summarize the plot, the deeper meaning of what Fernando A. Flores had in mind when he wrote this novel? I could try but, in all honesty, I don't know that I could do it in a way that's fair and good to Fernando A. Flores and the intricate, complex thing he has created.

But, since this is a book review, I'd better try.

There is a man named Bellacosa who lives on the Americ
If an aborted apocalypse waits in our near future or partially wrecks our alternate past, the Texas-Mexico border is surely the best backdrop for this kind of surrealist speculation. "The Tufflepig" is ambitious, hitching our 21st century conviction the future is going to be some kind of still navigable awful to the powerful twin engines of magical realism and Texas-Mexico mythology. Flores is light on the science of his fiction and vague to the point of uninterested on the depopulating event pr ...more
Michelle  Hogmire
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Submission Review #9 (pub date May 14, 2019/thanks to MCD x FSG for the advance copy):
Tears of the Trufflepig is a truly bonkers ride of a book—simultaneously a fun madcap romp and a sad prescient commentary on capitalism, trafficking, borders, and cultural appropriation of Native stories. I adored this novel. The plot follows Bellacosa, a sad man who’s lost his family to disease and his friends to the former narco trade across the US-Mexico border.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Maybe God is the mad hatter...We are all his windup toys."

I've had Tears of the Trufflepig for a while, but this is definitely a book that commands your attention. This book lives in a genre belonging to itself - an alternate, near-future world embedded in magical realism and psychedelic noir while wrapped up in Mexican folklore. It is an incredibly creative and ambitious project, one that you will become lost if you try to power through it in a time when you cannot.

The writing, f
Deon Stonehouse
A novel for our times, this dystopian tale imagines a near future with border walls between the US and Mexico. Estaban Bellacosa lives on the US side and works as a middle man moving equipment and such across. Gangs kidnap with impunity, works of art are stolen, and the wealthy line up to feast on extinct animals recreated through a clone like process. The downside is their short life spans, but no matter they are to be eaten before lifespans would become an issue. (If you think this depiction o ...more
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