by Portia Kapraun
Nacho Morales leads a group of misfits and outcasts in taking over an
abandoned skyscraper in an unnamed Latin American city. Assisted by
lifelong friend the Chinaman, who is as big and strong as he is small
and puny, Nacho defends their hold on the building against a variety of
gangs, military forces, and corrupt politicians. Throughout their
struggles, the people begin to forge a life out of a land best known for
the bloody Trash Wars that took place years before. Soon the occupants
have established a successful bakery, beauty salon, schools, and other
businesses within the building.
VERDICT Inspired by the 2007 occupation of a skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, Wilson’s debut novel of magic realism is a modern retelling of the classic hero’s journey, complete with a two-headed beast, a flood of biblical proportion, miraculous healing, and deus ex machina. The author’s elegant language makes even the darkest of situations beautiful. Sure to attract readers who enjoy a touch of magic mixed in with their tales of social justice.