Damnificados is a novel published this year by JJ Amaworo Wilson.

I would never have read this book if I hadn’t met the author, a well-traveled and gentle person who now is part of the writing world of southern New Mexico.  I don’t find time to read a lot of novels, and when I come across terms like magical realism I wonder what that means.

If that’s what this book is, I’m a fan. The writing is rich, the story is lively, the characters are fascinating, the action ranges from mundane to mythic.  Though based on an actual event in Venezuela, the story soon expands the location into a city that is nowhere and everywhere – the names of the slums around the city come from many different languages, as do the names of the people.

“Damnificados” are people of the slums.  It’s an ugly world; I don’t think I’d like to see a movie of this story – too much trash – but the characters are people worth knowing, and so are the animals, who take several interesting roles in the action.  But the main character is the high abandoned tower in which a whole community is created by the desperate people who move in.  And the ground on which it is built.

The book is a delightful carnival ride of the imagination.  I’ll be looking for more by this author.

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