I remember adding Eric Garcia to my authorial wishlist. Karin Slaughter was at the Melbourne Writers Festival, and talked of how she was more nitpicky of the locations in the Vincent Rubio series, when really she should’ve questioned the realism of a dinosaur going undercover in contemporary America. Dinosaurs, crime and humour? I was hooked. Those three books have been long out of print, though, so I’ve never acquired them.
I have, however, read Matchstick Men (which is okay) and Cassandra French’s Finishing School for Boys (which is great). But Eric Garcia’s crowning glory is this magnificent tome: The Repossession Mambo, later republished as Repo Men. The premise is irresistible: people can have transplanted artificial organs, but if they don’t keep up the payments, the artiforgs are repossessed.
Our unnamed narrator has been through five marriages and subsequent divorces, driven tanks in wartime Africa, and worked as a Bio-Repo man for the Credit Union. But now he’s hiding out, writing his memoirs while he’s still alive – which may not be for much longer.
Simply put, I adore this novel. I love the premise, the narrator’s voice, the humour, the looping internal structure, the world-building, and even the romance. I’m not usually one for romance, but the ending totally made me coo, “Aw!” If I was a writer, I’d totally want to write something as awesome as this.
Be sure to stick around for the author’s essay, The Taming of the Mambo, which charts the twelve-year journey from idea to short story to novel to screenplay and back to novel. I haven’t seen the film, Repo Men, which unfortunately went straight to DVD in Australia, so I can’t tell you how the book and film measure up against each other.
And no, I’m not familiar with Repo!: The Genetic Opera, so I can’t talk comparisons, similarities and differences.