The night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriaga

The night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriaga

Mexican Fiction

Translator Alan Page

Guillermo Arriaga is a mexican writer ,but describes himself as a hunter that writes, maybe best known for his screen writing work in the uk his scripts include 21 grams and Babel both successful films ,he has also written three novels ,this one was also made into a film in 2007 .He also got a award in Cannes for best screenplay in 2005 .

The night buffalo is set Mexico city and it follows a best friend Manuel trying to come to terms with the death of his friend Gregorio  death via suicide ,the book takes back over one day but is also  told a lot in flashbacks to the time they spent together .then we throw in Gregorio girlfriend Tania that Manuel had been having an affair meeting her in a hotel room .A box of letters and the police looking at what happened add to this tale of latin american teens in a interview here Guillermo said he didn’t realise how bad suicides and mental health problems were in mexico before he wrote the book .Rather like his more famous screenplays this deals with the human condition and people on the edge ,also friendship what it means to people this is a classic threesome story ,of a women divide male friends  like garden of eden or jules et jim two more books dealing with this  subject .

I lay on the bed .Where could tania be ? I couldn’t tell and, at this point considered the zoo or the airport as possibilties was absurd .I had no choice but to wait for her to reappearin her usual surrepitious ,unexpected way .

Manuel waiting in room 803 there secret meeting place.

The other book I read set mainly in Mexico city Bolano’s savage detectives but that  book is a muddle tale of the city with many storylines and a bit crazy like the city itself ,But here because the focus is on three lives ,you get what is obviously Arriaga cinematic eye he has eyes for  detail character and dialogue not over doing any the bareness adds to the story and also means the story doesn’t drift like Bolano’s did , as manuel drifts back  in time and gives you the little glimpse in what lead to his friends death . Even thou he wrote it before his screenplays  you can see him having a eye on this potential being made to a film .Manuel isn’t the nicest guy I mean he cheated on his friend with his girlfriend Tania but this relationship was mostly sexual meeting in the  hotel room ,but that said he had been embroiled in many things with his friend Gregorio not all legal and seen his friends mental health decline over there friendship .This is a great read of teen agnst and what happens when that crosses over into suicide .The title is from the fact the two best friends have matching tatoos of night Buffalos .The book is translate by Alan Page .

Who is your favourtie Mexican writer or have you a favourite Mexican novel ?

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Parrish
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 20:30:47

    my knowledge of writers from this country is a bit sparse, can off the top of my head, come up with 3 – Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, Alfonso Reyes. & now another thanks.


  2. Gavin
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 21:44:48

    Thanks for adding another Mexican author to my list. Like Parrish I’m familiar with Fuentes and Paz. I hope my library has this one.


  3. Gavin
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 21:45:53

    Oh, and I love Arriaga’s films.


  4. Caroline
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 07:21:36

    I will put this on my wish list. I have hardly read any Mexican authors at all. I got a short story collection which I’d like to read soon. Like Parrish I’ve read Fuentes and Paz. And Juan Rulfo.


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February 2012


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