English publisher Washington Square Press. English title: A Sweet Scent of Death. Translated by Alan Page. I read this book for Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge, Extremist Level, this was my third North America book (Mexico).
A Sweet Scent Of Death is the second novel by Guillermo Arriaga, who is probably better known as the screenwriter of movies such as Amores perros, 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and Babel.
The plot is set in a small Mexican village called Loma Grande. The story opens one Sunday morning. The naked body of a young woman, almost a girl, is found stabbed in the back in a field of sorghum. She was admired from afar by Ramón Castaños a sixteen-year-old boy. His grief is so great that soon the rumour spread that she was his girlfriend. Ramon, unable to refute this rumour, is convinced that he must avenge Adela’s death. Word spreads that the killer was Jose Echeverri-Berriozabal, known as ‘The Gypsy’. A nomadic who used to visit frequently Gabriela, a married woman, unable to defend him. And a sweet scent of death spreads in Loma Grande.
This book is wonderfully written (in Mexican Spanish) and reminds me immediately of a Greek tragedy. Its 166 pages can be read in one go. I was left breathless when I finished it. Awesome. I must look for the rest of his books.
Guillermo Arriaga has also published Escuadrón guillotina (1991) The Guillotine Squad and El búfalo de la noche (1999) The Night Buffalo. In 2009 Arriaga made his debut as film director with The Burning Plain.