Life Is A Woman by Lionel Garcia
‘Life is a Woman’ is a well-paced book mixing in both the new with the old. At times Lionel’s work feels less like a book and more like a tale passed on from person to person. That might account for the healthy levels of absurdity and humor injected into it. Parts of it seem to reflect a warped folk tale. Lionel’s decision to use Texas as a setting reinforces this feeling. Only instead of the main character being a lovable chap, he is a guiltless awful excuse for a human being who ruins lives. Weirdly Jose’s terribleness is so great that it actually draws you closer. You want to see just how twisted he can get. Lionel takes great liberty in showing off Jose’s warped set of values.
Characters surround Jose Maria. They don’t want to it simply happens. Nothing good comes from hanging out with such a foul individual. He is beyond saving. In fact at no point in the entire book does he calm down. Nope, the volume is up to eleven on his ridiculously terrible behavior and attitudes towards others. Everything Jose does is exclusively for himself. He takes from whatever is around him.
The beginning threw me off for a bit. Lionel dangles the hope that Jose will improve upon his return from Europe. Europe treats him terribly though Jose’s behavior in Europe is equally as bad, if not worse. After he is back to Texas he does essentially the same things he did in Europe. Only in Texas he creates a social network to back him up for whatever terrible things he does. That appears to be the main difference between his actions in Europe versus his actions in his hometown.
Nobody can stop Jose. When people learn what happens they ‘go away’. Jose’s misbehavior is so outrageous that it is rendered funny. And there are some amazingly weird snippets of dialogue. Lionel uses a good ear for exactly how impotent, confused old men would deal with a young ruffian like Jose. Oftentimes Lionel has no problem scraping the edges of the surreal with a few of the scenes, particularly with regards to the restaurant scene involving Jose’s wife and Jose’s cook.
When you start the book you’ll finish it in the same sitting. It is that kind of book. Upon starting it moves very quickly through Jose’s entire life and the lives of others. The others make the book possess a shred of redeeming value. Characters around Jose fail to defeat Jose due to a lack of action. All of them show the example that inaction can be just as dangerous as Jose. By failing to confront him they have to deal with his horrible taste in clothing, women, and general lack of work ethic.
‘Life is a Woman’ is a quick, fun, easy read, reminiscent of old folk tales.