The Cannibal of Guadalajara
Gotham teacher David Winner
has just seen the publication of his novel, The Cannibal of Guadalajara
As the title suggests, it’s an unpredictable book. It’s reminiscent of a fable, both comic and nightmarish. It features a ménage a trois between a man, his ex wife, and a strange fellow. It traverses Mexico and Manhattan. It prominently features marriage, literature, food and sex.
Here is the tantalizing opening:
The most obvious problem is her age. No one who has reached her fifties should show her face at a singles event that isn’t absolutely age specific. The thirty-five to fifty-five rubric that has been advertised seems totally insufficient as all of life, as far as Margaret can tell, occurs in just those years. It is also less than brilliant to ignore that most obvious of dating advice: go where you’ll find your own kind. This meatpacking district nightclub within sniffing distance of the great cold Hudson charges fifty dollars for an open bar and a chance to meet someone but does absolutely nothing to limit the selection of humanity contained therein.
While hovering just inside the cavernous structure (once home to cows and pigs on their way to their maker), she finds herself too overwhelmed by sensory data to discover much about the people surrounding her except their age: too young to have any interest in her that was not somehow mercenary.
The dance floor begins to come into better focus. From the ceiling, small swirling lanterns dispense flickers of strobe like Roman candles revealing grimacing faces and baroquely gesturing limbs. Getting through it to reach the bar she sees on the other side would be particularly difficult, as she’s not fully recovered from her brusque showdown at the security desk in front, the aggressive way in which the metal detector had been passed over her body by the fierce squat bouncer.
All the shimmering black plastic chairs are occupied, so all she can do is position her tired frame (more substantial these days though short of stout) onto her back in the manner suggested by the trainer she’d briefly employed during the waning days of her marriage.
The club’s décor fulfills the predictions of the future from her college years. The black chairs, the phosphorescent blue tiles on the wall, the glimmering white ceiling remind her of Kubrick—act her age. The drink that can help her NOT act her age (as acting her age will do her no good at all) lies faraway across the impenetrable dance floor.
As she gazes longingly at the bar, the thought of how long ago that was (2001, itself several years in the past) conjure an obscure chorus in her head, scolding her for showing up there at all, instructing her to act her age, a man approaches her. He’s a bit overweight, well under thirty and has Central American features—an oval face, almond skin and dark glossy hair. His large almost Asian eyes draw her in. Deep black pupils and slightly lighter corneas swim in luminescent eyeballs, which verge on the leaking of inexplicable tears. He smells musky sweet from an old-fashioned cologne, but human too, earthy and salty. It does not take him long to figure out her predicament and take her drink order like the staff person she realizes he is not.
The minute he’s gone she misses him, anchorless again in the billowing crowd. She watches him stride confidently through the dance floor on his way to the bar. But along the way, at the place in which the bass-driven cacophony that passes for music is at its loudest, he gets stuck in a crowd of dancers.
Reprinted by permission of Gival Press. For more information on David and his book, visit: www.david-winner.com
. To buy the book online, visit amazon.com