In Christopher David Rosales’ first novel, 'Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper', he creates a completely unique vision that seamlessly blends tropes of magical realism and dystopian fiction in a portrait of power in America that we’ve never seen before. Imagine it as the communal love child of Marquez, Bolaño, and Orwell, a child who inhabits an America that resembles Pinochet’s Chile, and yet feels uncannily (and frighteningly) familiar to present day Los Angeles. A world in which street assassin Tre, a young and much beloved brother and son, finds himself caught in a city where all its citizens, even its most dangerous, are potential targets in the on-going power struggle between an authoritarian military regime and a not-so-community friendly guerrilla force. As Percival Everett says, “This novel treats revolution, love, betrayal and magic with equal adeptness and intelligence. In a world that is at once ours and foreign Rosales makes characters that will be remembered when the novel is done.
In a future, dystopian world, the city of Los Angeles is a dangerous place where the authoritarian military and the guerrillas are in constant battle. In this Los Angeles, a young man, Rudy the Third, also known as Tre, finds quick and easy money working for the guerrillas as an assassin. Tre is the son to a professor who may sometimes teach things that the military would rather he not teach and the brother to an extraordinarily smart sister who finds herself in love with a military Captain. When Tre receives a hit on his father, things begin to get confusing and Tre begins to question his place in life.
We are immediately thrown into a scary world that draws many parallels to today's world and issues. This book took me a little while to get into, the narrative is a story being told from mother to son, who is not concerned about why the world is the way it is or how it got that way. Therefore, I didn't know where exactly we were in time or why Los Angeles is the way it is. The aspects that did absorb me into the book were the dramatic and graphic assaults as well as the emotions of the characters. Each character goes on an emotional rollercoaster and the journey is in their experiences. I did find myself gravitating to Tre's sister, Nora throughout the book and was very interested in the decisions that she would make. Overall, a raw and passionate story of revolution.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Christopher David Rosales' first novel, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper (Mixer Publishing, 2015) won the McNamara Creative Arts Grant. Previously he won the Center of the American West's award for fiction three years in a row. He is a PhD candidate at University of Denver and has taught university level creative writing for 10 years.. Rosales' second novel, Gods on the Lam releases in June, 2017 from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Word is Bone, his third novel, is forthcoming 2018 from Broken River Books.
Official Website: https://www.christopherrosales.com/