annotation by Judy Sunderland
The Holy Spirit of My Uncle’s Cojones is a novel which the author has assured me is more memoir than most of his other writing. I sincerely hope that a good deal of it is fiction, because if this is autobiographical, it is a lot to digest. It is a common style, a writer, writing about writing; and, is flashback with the narrator getting ready to attend a funeral and rethinking his history. As common as both these devices are, the book is wonderful and a very pleasant read, even though some of the action cannot be described as pleasant.
The narrator of the story is an unusual character…the emotionally disturbed child of a “Salvadorian mother and an Appalachian father” who is shipped off to spend time learning to be a man with his Uncle Jack. It is Uncle Jack who has died now and hence the flashback of the summer of his sixteenth year. There is action in the past, the flashbacks, and action in the future, the adult narrator is being cuckolded by his live-in girlfriend and is trying to come to some decision. His final solution is a fun read.
The writing is full of action and constantly moves. The characters are believable and sympathetic with a peek (no pun intended) into several different social cultures – Salvadorian Immigrant, South American Spiritual Guru, Latin drug runner, and confused teenager, to name a few). Normally, I try to find style and content to morph into my own work, but this is very personal, and although I would be proud to imitate it, I can’t imagine making it sound authentic to my own voice.