On reading: Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

Title: Coyote Songs

Author: Gabino Iglesias

From the back: In Gabino Iglesias’ second novel, ghosts and old gods guide the hands of those caught up in a violent struggle to save the soul of the American southwest. A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the Mother of Chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance for the death of his father. These stories intertwine with those of a vengeful spirit and a hungry creature to paint a timely, compelling, pulpy portrait of revenge, family, and hope. 

The gist: This powerful, emotional book grabs you by your (eye)balls, rips into your heart and takes absolutely no prisoners. It’s a raw book, angry, sad, brutal, but cut through with heart. The images feel like folklore, the stories like violent fables, carrying you along and transporting you into a place where land and borders are as much characters as the people that walk across them. 

Iglesias weaves Spanish into the words, and my limited vocabulary didn’t stop me from being pulled along, the rhythm giving it meaning regardless of the words themselves. 

And this book also seems important, culturally and politically. It feels like the sort of stories that need to be told in the strange world we live in at the moment. 

It’s a book that needs to be read, that screams at you from the bookshelf. It demands to be devoured, digested and understood. It’s violent and beautiful, and all the things in between, and it will demand your attention long after you finish turning the pages. 

Favourite line: “Yeah, when nothing makes sense, I close my eyes and listen to my blood.”

Read if: You want a brutal yet folkloresque insight into life on the border

Read with: Some ice for your bruises because this book don’t pull no punches

Get it: Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

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