A couple new Amazon reviews for Infernal Drums:
As a Mexican, I was very pleasantly surprised to read the vision of present-day Mexico that the foreigner/narrator gives the reader in Infernal Drums by Anthony Wright. He pointed out customs and traditions that we take for granted. This reveals the profound research and observation carried out by Wright when writing his novel. His detailed descriptions and figurative language offer great insight to Mexican culture. In particular I would like to quote the beginning of Chapter 20, which I believe is beautifully worded imagery: “Bazza hit Oaxaca City, settled in. It was a pretty, laid back melting pot populated by hard-working mestizo locals, huipil-attired Triquis romantically enlarged by the rose-colored magnifying glass of tourism, and, to perfectly define the latter equation: stout, head-shaven yuppies, fat middle-aged tourists and hairy, tattooed backpackers of all nations and stripes – everyone alien to each other, frightened of each other, hating the other for being there and spoiling their pathetic fantasy of a unique experience that does not and will never happen.” Congratulations to Anthony Wright.
Beneath the errant tale of a backpacker who’d lost his way is a very moving examination of the play of fate — and what is fate but a lot of mumbo jumbo, luck, unanswered prayers, a few bad moves… all beautifully interwoven into the book and captured in a really powerful way. I loved the way the story just sank deeper and deeper into the shit, despite all efforts — not even any aspiration to succeed but just to stay afloat — and the way it became more & more introspective in parallel until the religious epiphany kicks in. Why? — because what else is there? It’s consistent with Jonah’s style to be going for more mumbo jumbo — just an institutionalised one… like betting with the blue chip shares of the soul this time. He was a Catholic school boy after all…
The story and the themes are a humdinger — I loved it. It’s kind of like a Graham Greene nightmare — it felt very real and very uncomfortable, and in the end very sad.