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Las mutaciones

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  464 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Ramón Martínez es abogado exitoso, ateo militante y patriarca convencional. Un golpe de azar lo privará de la lengua —la carne, el habla— y lo condenará a vivir una silenciosa tragicomedia.

En esta novela de humor y desasosiego, Jorge Comensal narra las peripecias de Ramón y sus allegados: Carmela —la esposa— quien deberá volver a litigar después de veinte años sin hacerlo
Kindle Edition
Published March 23rd 2020 (first published October 20th 2016)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  464 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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lark benobi
Finally Teresa was of those unlikely moments that saved her life from absurdity.

This is a hard novel to pay attention to, to the level it demands to be paid attention to, and yet it rewards your attention absolutely. On a sentence level it's beautiful. On a story level it's fragmentary, snatching you away again and again from a story line you want to stay in and leaping away into another scene, other characters. Thematically it tackles a fundamental question in life: how a per
Renee (The B-Roll)
This is a really dense book that is packed with lots of topics that are difficult to face and some theoretical concepts. It is a more cerebral read that is a bit confusing at times, but really good once you get the big picture. After reading it, I had a lot to think about and to say. There is a full review on my blog:

The Mutations centers around a few characters, all with the common thread of cancer.  An oncologist trying to make sense of his career in an aging field, a p
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a very unusual little book. I don't know if maybe something was lost in the translation, but I didn't find much of the humor that the book blurb promised. I found the absurd for sure but it just didn't work for me. ...more
Nate Hawthorne
I do not usually read translated books, but this one caught my eye. The story is told through the perspective of many characters. There is a lot of science and introspection. I was hoping for there to be more emphasis on the vulgar speaking bird, but it was just a passing fad.
Rhonda Lomazow
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ramon a successful attorney in Mexico City loses his ability to speak after he gets tongue cancer.His life changes and we are taken on his new life’s journey.We are introduced to a quirky cast of characters a group that will make you laugh even through Ramon’s dire illness a well written entertaining novel,
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something for lovers of oncogenes or parrots.
It was special, scary, cleaned up and left a feeling that in the end everything was in order.
Bob Lopez
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirsten Tautfest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Schlatter
A short first novel about society and cancer in Mexico City. Comensal's story primarily follows Ramón, a wealthy lawyer who develops a very aggressive and rare cancer, and Teresa, a cancer survivor and therapist who works with the psychological well-being of cancer patients. But there are a host of other characters as well, and Comensal makes the most of funny and sadly ironic circumstances in their lives. Near the end, there's a good dollop of Lacanian psychoanalysis, which I was unfortunately ...more
Ramon and his family struggle with his cancer diagnosis and the changes this causes in their life. There IS humor in this, however it is, perhaps, not easily seen by those who have not suffered severe illnesses or been by the side of someone dying. Yes, humor is a part of life ... and illness and death are also a part of life. I do think there was too much gratuitous "bad" language; I don't mind this if it is part of/adds to the story, but sometimes this felt like some of it was added just to up ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Mutations:A Novel
by Jorge Comensal
Translated from Spanish: Charlotte Whittle
Farrar Straus &Giroux
2.8 / 5.0

A lawyer in Mexico City is diagnosed with an aggressive form of tongue cancer. A man that made his legacy by speaking, the diagnosis was a complete change for him. It is satirical and comedic, a good look at how cancer affects the family, medical professionals, co-workers and is somewhat provoking as well as thought-provoking.
The "faggot" references and "faggot with AIDS" I hope wer
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lawyer is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that leads to his tongue being amputated and a loss of his sense of self. This, of course, has an effect on his family members, but the book also explores how his experience intersects with that of his analysts's, as well as his oncologist. We see the inner workings of many characters, and Comensal gives us just enough of each. The foul-mouthed parrot is the only one who seems to be outwardly expressing itself! ...more
Bryan Fox
A decent enough first novel, but it feels as if the author were in a hurry trying to complete it. I'm generally a fan of brevity in novels, as opposed to hypergraphia, but in this book, the glossing over of events and characters leaves a lot of potential emotional impact on the table. Tonally, it's also something of an odd "Ode to Cancer", focused not only on the protagonist's terminal variant, but also the oncologic history of his therapist and the musings of his doctor. ...more
Elizabeth Escobar
"Ramon was watching TV with his teenage son and daughter, who could hardly summon the effort to greet her properly. They displayed an apathy typical of nihilist philosophers or provincial museum guards."
" He believed that if envy were a virus, it would be herpes - common and opportunistic; fatal for the weak, but innocuous to the strong."

Smart, well written novella with sharp and funny observations. I read this slowly since it was so well written!!
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
This book billed itself as a comedy. I didn't find it remotely funny...but given the subject matter, I'm not sure how it would be. It's a slim little volume and an interesting story. It took me a while to get through it because I found it pretty heavy, but it's worth the read.

I won an ARC from a giveaway. I'm not sure I would have stumbled on it otherwise.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jorge Comensal's The Mutations starts out incredibly promising, crafting a comedic cancer narrative that doesn't short-change the emotional stakes of having cancer, while still letting us into a slightly off-kilter, oddball world. It peters out a bit at the end, but it deserves a lot of credit for avoiding cliche and digging into an emotional palette that I've never really seen before. ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What begins as a barbed satire devolves into pettiness and some ugly bias. Reads a bit like a Don Delillo story (think White Noise,) including the self-absorbed male lead. Side plots about a cancer-survivor turned therapist and a self-obsessed oncologist really go nowhere. The ending lacks either catharsis or sharp insight.
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Overall I enjoyed this book. However I would have liked some further development of the secondary characters. We get to know Ramon pretty well, but secondary characters like Mateo and Paulina are hardly more than names with minimal traits. Oh, and on the positive side, the last chapter of part one is great.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel written by Jorge Comesal and I sure hope he writes another soon. At first I thought, how in the world can a book about someone having cancer be funny? But, after Ramon’s housekeeper buys him a parrot for his birthday and the first words spoken were “Son of a b@itch” I had my answer. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, never dull.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating novella which, despite its subject (cancer and its metastasis) is light on it’s feet, poignant, often funny, ultimately very satisfying. Takes its subject with the seriousness it deserves and rewards the reader intellectually and emotionally.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weird story that I never quite got into. Life in Mexico, cancer, psychoanalysis, family relations all swirl around the concept of mutations. Some interesting language and meditations but never really came together.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think that being an oncology social worker spoiled the humor and relationships in this book for me. I simply couldn’t separate my life experiences and those of my very real patients from the characters in this book. Very dense in content
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected to read more about the parrot. I really wish there was more on Ramon and how he used his time at the end to spend time with his family and help them come to terms with what would come. Not sure if I love the maid or someone needs to lock her up.
Felipe CZ
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining narrative from Jorge Comensal. The story is about Ramon, a lawyer who loses his tongue due to terminal illness. Even though he has a supportive family, he communicates better with the newly acquired family pet, Benito, a colorful parrot.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book except for an abrupt, unsatisfying ending. I suppose that's the nature of cancer though. ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t really know how to describe it. Funny and odd and weirdly beautiful.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An odd little book. Funny at times, but don't know if I'd revisit it. Add it to your TBR list if you're looking for something short or waiting on something else ...more
Teresa Warner
Very fast read as told by several different people that have had or still have cancer.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have feelings. I have deep feelings. Mostly these feelings are terribly sad. Also, fuck cancer. But that’s not where I’m conflicted with regard to this novel.
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