Here’s something you won’t know until you read this book: how an author can simultaneously break all the conventional rules and yet tie it all together in a package so alarmingly distinct, you wonder why other authors haven’t already done this.
Here’s something else you won’t know: how much you are going to enjoy this.
We Eat Our Own accomplishes what most authors will never do in their entire careers — quite simply, it raises the bar. A highly original voice, the shocking (yet effective and appropriate) use of second person POV, a gritty and realistic setting, characters so flawed they could be any one of us, and prose so fresh it reads as if you’re discovering a new language. The fact that this novel is a debut work is mind-boggling, to say the least.
To me this read like something Cormac McCarthy would wish he had written. An Italian art film being shot in the jungles of the Amazon by a psychotic director who wants the audience to “feel” the movie. An American actor thrown into the mix without a script, without a clue, and without much chance of survival. Guerillas soldiers, who are really kids, attempting to secure their country and fight for the Columbia they dream of. Drug trafficking, native Indians, cannibalism, and an Italian actress who unintentionally drives these separate worlds into a fatal collision course.
My greatest fear as I dove into this novel was that the ending wouldn’t live up to the rest of the story, that it would go down the tired and worn path of expectation. Happy to say that wasn’t the case, and the climax makes the journey all that more palatable.
A bloody and brilliant piece of literary work, “We Eat Our Own” is officially my favorite read of 2016 (so far, at least). Admittedly, this is a novel not everyone will “get,” but it’s a novel that deserves to be read, studied, and shared. And remember:
“There’s no such thing as murder in the jungle.”
** I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. Thanks to the publisher and author. This in no way influenced my review **