Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555976095, 330pp.
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
"Of my generation I most admire Daniel Sada, whose writing project seems to me the most daring." Roberto Bolano
This Rabelaisian tale of lust and longing in the drier precincts of postwar Mexico introduces one of Latin America's most admired writers to the English-speaking world.
Demetrio Sordo is an agronomist who passes his days in a dull but remunerative job at a ranch near Oaxaca. It is 1945, World War II has just ended, but those bloody events have had no impact on a country that is only on the cusp of industrializing. One day, more bored than usual, Demetrio visits a bordello in search of a libidinous solution to his malaise. There he begins an all-consuming and, all things considered, perfectly satisfying relationship with a prostitute named Mireya.
A letter from his mother interrupts Demetrio's debauched idyll: she asks him to return home to northern Mexico to accompany her to a wedding in a small town on the edge of the desert. Much to his mother's delight, he meets the beautiful and virginal Renata and quickly falls in love a most proper kind of love.
Back in Oaxaca, Demetrio is torn, the poor cad. Naturally he tries to maintain both relationships, continuing to frolic with Mireya and beginning a chaste correspondence with Renata. But Mireya has problems of her own boredom is not among them and concocts a story that she hopes will help her escape from the bordello and compel Demetrio to marry her. "Almost Never "is a brilliant send-up of Latin American machismo that also evokes a Mexico on the verge of dramatic change.
Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator and the co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC).
Praise for Almost Never: "What is so daring here? It's not Sada's depiction of the Madonna-whore complex, nor his take on the delusions of a Mexican macho--although both make for delicious burlesque. What's new is the voice, and Sada's glorious style. . . . It's impossible not to be swept along by Sada's manic language, his Cervantean plot twists and his affection for the hero who shares his initials." —Rachel Nolan, The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice "Daniel Sada will be remembered in Mexico as a literary titan of his time, one of the most innovative novelists in contemporary Latin American letters. His books stand in startling contrast to the persona: They are a whirling riot of color, a wild cacophony of voices, an extravagant display of pyrotechnical prose." —The Washington Post "The first English translation of Daniel Sada, Almost Never, is a bright introduction of this Spanish star who brings humor and unmatched style to the ordinary." —The Rumpus "As in the plays of Lope de Vega, an intricate code of honor shapes [Almost Never's] plot, and, as much as Luis de Gongora, Sada revels in the labyrinths of preposterously convoluted prose. . . . Demetrio's courtship of Renata is played out as Mexican kabuki that makes a mockery of Puritanism, machismo and marriage." —The Dallas Morning News "Sada creates a fascinatingly eccentric cast of characters and manipulates them with skill." —Publishers Weekly "Sada writes lustily and with comic brio about Demetrio's dilemma." —Kirkus Reviews