Perpetual West Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
“Stunning . . . A forceful addition to the literature of the U.S.-Mexican border and its ongoing history of tragedy and joy.”—Jennifer Clement, The New York Times Book Review
“Suspenseful, seductive . . . A thrill ride from cover to cover.”—Oprah Daily, “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2022”
The riveting new novel by the acclaimed author of Sugar Run, Perpetual West is a brilliant and evocative story of borders—between countries, between lovers, and between facets of the self.
When Alex and Elana move from smalltown Virginia to El Paso, they are just a young married couple, intent on a new beginning. Mexican by birth but adopted by white American Pentecostal parents, Alex is hungry to learn about the place where he was born. He spends every free moment across the border in Juárez—perfecting his Spanish, hanging with a collective of young activists, and studying lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) for his graduate work in sociology. Meanwhile Elana, busy fighting her own demons, feels disillusioned by academia and has stopped going to class. And though they are best friends, Elana has no idea that Alex has fallen in love with Mateo, a lucha libre fighter.
When Alex goes missing and Elana can’t determine whether he left of his own accord or was kidnapped, it’s clear that neither of them has been honest about who they are. Spanning their journey from Virginia to Texas to Mexico, Mesha Maren’s thrilling follow-up to Sugar Run takes us from missionaries to wrestling matches to a luxurious cartel compound, and deep into the psychic choices that shape our identities. A sweeping novel that tells us as much about our perceptions of the United States and Mexico as it does about our own natures and desires, Perpetual West is a fiercely intelligent and engaging look at the false divide between high and low culture, and a suspenseful story of how harrowing events can bring our true selves to the surface.
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 49 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||July 16 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #290,718 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#4,949 in World Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#7,674 in Cultural Heritage Historical Fiction
#18,342 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from other countries
This book does deal with some important themes -- finding one's roots when one grows up in a different area than the family's, settling into a new marriage (and, yes, there's homosexual infidelity). But couldn't these themes have been handled in another way?
Librarians, especially those in the U.S., are facing problems because of books like this. The general public does not want these kinds of things in libraries, but the American Library Association promotes freedom of information and freedom to read. Librarians cannot possibly read every possible item they're considering for selection, and if they don't know about such content, they can't prepare for people who want to censor. Have plenty of "Request for Reconsideration" forms ready and be prepared to explain your library's procedures for reconsideration.
Most of this story takes place in Mexico south of El Paso, Texas. Elana and Alex who are from Virginia and West Virginia have been married less than a year and live in El Paso. Alex likes to cross into Mexico frequently to discover who he should be or maybe would have been. His biological mother was from Mexico. He was adopted by an intensely religious West Virginia couple. Alex is hiding a side of himself that Elana doesn't know. Alex disappears and Elana searches.
What I like is that we know what is happening to Alex while we see Elana search and grow from a shadow into a person who values herself.
This book shows a violent and terrifying side of Mexico that keeps me from adding it to my plastic or metal bucket lists.
I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’m deliberately going to be vague.
Eland and Alex were young newlyweds who moved from W. Virginia to El Paso, Texas to peruse their studies. They spent much of their time in Juarez, Mexico.
When Elena took a brief trip back to W. Va to welcome her brother home from rehab, Alex decide to change his thesis to write about lucho libre, a violent form of wrestling popularized in Mexico, more specifically, about Matteo, known as El Vengador in wrestling circles.
Alex has an affair with Mateo and the two of them wind up being entangled with a Mexican cartel that controls wrestling. Alap and Mateo get kidnapped by Neto, the head of that cartel, and Elena spends a month or so trying to find her husband, unaware of his betrayal both with another person, and his sexual orientation.
There are so many questions unanswered by the end of the book. I felt as if the writer didn’t know how to finish her story.