Salvador was first publisehd by McSweeney'sFor fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges
Salvador Plascencia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and now lives in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Whittier College and holds an MFA from Syracuse University. The People of Paper is his first novel.
Plascencia's mannered but moving debut begins with an allegory for art and the loss that drives it: a butcher guts a boy's cat; the boy constructs paper organs for the feline, who is revivified; the boy thus becomes the world's first origami surgeon. Though Plascencia's book sometimes seems to take the form of an autobiographical attempt to come to terms with a lost love, little of this experimental work-a mischievous mix of Garcia Marquez magical realism and Tristram Shandy typographical tricks-is grounded in reality. Early on we meet a "Baby Nostradamus" and a Catholic saint disguised as a wrestler while following the enuretic Fernando de la Fe and his lime-addicted daughter from Mexico to California. Fernando-whose wife, tired of waking in pools of piss, has left him-settles east of L.A. in El Monte. He gathers a gang of carnation pickers to wage a quixotic war against the planet Saturn and, in a Borges-like discovery, Saturn turns out to be Salvador Plascencia. Over a dozen characters narrate the story while fighting like Lilliputians to emancipate themselves from Plascencia's tyrannical authorial control. Playful and cheeky, the book is also violent and macabre: masochists burn themselves; a man bleeds horribly after performing cunnilingus on a woman made of paper. Plascencia's virtuosic first novel is explosively unreal, but bares human truths with devastating accuracy. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
'A stunning debut by a once-in-a-generation talent. I don't know of a young American writer more original, innovative or intense than Salvador Plascencia. The People of Paper is harrowing and gorgeous, experimental in the truest sense: it creates new means to explore essential and timeless emotional subjects' George Saunders 'Original, strange and beautifully written ... affecting and spellbinding reading' The Times 'The People of Paper is a novel like no other, emerging from the chrysalis of magic and imagination to create a world of letters that seeps back into the world we know and then metamorphoses into something else altogether. Calvino, Borges and Garcia Marquez will come to mind, but Plascencia's novel is a creature of its own, firmly grounded and soaring at the same time' T. C. Boyle 'Plascencia has stitched together an American patchwork quilt that will enchant all readers' Financial Times