© Mario Mejía-Chi
José Agustín was born in Acapulco in 1944 and ranked among the Mexican avant-garde when he began to write in the 1960s. He is the author of novels, novellas and scripts for screen and stage. Agustín was a scholarship holder of the Fulbright as well as the Guggenheim Foundation.
In the novel Vida con mi viuda (“Life with my Widow”), a bestseller in Mexico since publication, Onelio de la Sierra, after an amorous tête-à-tête with his secretary, witnesses the death of a man who could have been his Doppelgänger. Spontaneously he adopts the man’s identity and soon learns that León Kaprinski belonged to a secret organisation of important representatives of politics, commerce and church. Their rituals include the sacrifice of children which are recorded in snuff films. Onelio tries to escape the increasing pressure by this group.
In the meantime his family has buried him with great ceremony. Onelio though cannot resist the temptation to frequently break into his old home where he catches his beloved wife red-handed with his friend and partner. Helena is a dazzling character: The descendant of a Mexican shaman family and herself somewhat a witch, she gave her first lover an alleged love potion which caused temporary idiocy in him. As he tried to resist rape she ripped out one of his eyes which she has carried with her as a talisman ever since. Meanwhile her victim has become an influential politician and seeks revenge. Onelio cannot protect his Helena from him. When she is killed he takes her corpse into the woods and drinks poison to be united with her in death.
This novel breaks taboos and encounters topics such as love, sex, death, violence or spirituality liberally and with irony. Not for the faint-hearted, the book is a joyous read for those who are willing to engage in Agustín’s world.
This novel mocks everyone and everything. It deals with heroes that are unconstrained, unprejudiced, intelligent and educated, but above all driven by sex, and sexy too.
For all readers who appreciate a witty and moreover erotic story. Elle
Original editions and rights sold:
Vida con mi viuda, Mexico D.F.: Joaquín Mortiz 2004. 257 p.
Armablanca, Mexico: Planeta 2006, 219 p.