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The mutations

by Comensal, Jorge, 1987-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 2 copies
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Cooper-Siegel Community Library New Books FIC COM
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
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A modern-day Flaubert takes us on a comic tour through a deeply neurotic Mexico City

Ramón Martinez is a militant atheist, successful lawyer, and conventional family man. But all of that changes when cancer of the tongue deprives him of the source of his power and livelihood: speech.

The Mutations , by Jorge Comensal, is a comedy tracing the metastasis of Ramón's cancer through his body and in the lives of his family members, colleagues, and doctors, dissecting the experience of illness and mapping the relationships both strengthened and frayed by its wake. Mateo and Paulina, his teenage children, struggle with the temptations of masturbation and binge eating, respectively. Ramón's melancholic oncologist is haunted by the memory of a young patient whom he was unable to save. Hisselfish pathologist believes Ramón's tumor holds the key to a major scientific breakthrough. And then there's Elodia, Ramón's pious maid, who brings him a foulmouthed parrot as a birthday gift. This lewd bird becomes Ramón's companion, confidant, and unlikely double.

Paying homage to the works of forebears such as Sontag, Didion, Flaubert, and Tolstoy, and filled with a rough-hewn poetry of regret, rage, and finally resignation, The Mutations offers a profound but funny cross section of modern Mexican life, as well as a bold treatment of an unspeakable yet universal reality

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Your health! Happy words, two of the last Ramón Martínez is able to utter as he toasts a client. His tongue has grown a strange tumor and since Ramón is a lawyer in Mexico City, a useless tongue emasculates him, transforming him from a macho head-of-the-household and vigorous career man into a pitiable echo of his former self. From this bleak premise, Mexican author Comensal launches his debut novel, a tale about cancer and impending death that slyly provokes more than a few guffaws. Comensal bounces between the point of view of Ramón to that of his therapist, Teresa, to Dr. Aldama, Ramón's oncologist. Effortlessly elevating his tale to the rarefied heights of Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Ravel only to plunge the bawdy depths of the rawest profanity while peppering his narration with erudite discussions of the mysteries of genetics, Comensal has written a fearlessly irreverent and unexpectedly deep novel about a family's blundering with the most atavistic of challenges.--Sara Martinez Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Comensal's punchy debut follows a group of physically and emotionally ailing characters in present-day Mexico City. Lawyer Ramon Martinez opens his mouth "like an angry baboon" to discover a painful lump. His whole tongue needs to be removed; his wife Carmela seems more worried about his children's reactions than his pain, though she adopts his insomnia "in solidarity." Psychoanalyst Teresa de la Vega, a breast cancer survivor, specializes in treating people with illnesses. One patient is Eduardo, a young man also very concerned with cancer, having had leukemia as a child. Teresa obsesses over Eduardo as Carmela does over her family. When Eduardo comes down with bronchitis, Teresa and the reader are compelled to wonder about the connection between neurosis and physical ailments. A quote from Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor introduces the novel's second half. Teresa, Eduardo, and Ramon and his family anchor the narrative, while Comensal folds in other, complementary plot threads. Ramon's doctor, Joaquin Aldama, becomes passionately involved in the care of his terminal patient Lorena Galvan, but not so much in that of Luis Ramirez, who is fond of complex conspiracy theories about his illness. The novel gets its comic charge from blunt and colorful descriptions of emotional situations that in other fiction would dictate long and evocative passages ("The dream's latent content represented the paradox of the jouissance of the Other."). Sidestepping sentimentality and elaborate emotional expression, Comensal brings comic compassion to his treatment of contemporary neuroses. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Cancer -- Patients -- Fiction.
Dysfunctional families -- Fiction.
Neuroses -- Fiction.
Parrots -- Fiction.
Mexico City (Mexico) -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Satirical fiction.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First American edition.
Other Titles Mutaciones.
Contributors Whittle, Charlotte, translator.
Language English
Notes Translation of: Las mutaciones.
Description 184 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN 9780374216535
Other Classic View