Title: The Taiga Syndrome
Author: Cristina Rivera Garza
Published: October 2018
The fairy tale imagery is apparent from the very beginning. But this is no fairy tale stuff. On the contrary, a book for adults with such striking visual power that reaches deep within your subconscious (or seems to have come out of it). The story seems simple: a husband approaches a female detective and asks her to find his wife who has apparently fled with another man. The fact that the wife has left traces behind her is convincing enough for the husband to think that she wants to be found. But where has the couple gone?
It seems they are somewhere deep in the Taiga, in a snowy, inhospitable forest, so far away from civilisation, scarcely populated with native tribes and wild animals. What happens within the forest belongs to the realm of imagination and it’s on the border of hallucination while at the same time appears utterly realistic.
But it is the writer’s prose that makes this book stand apart. Cristina Rivera Garza is a true poet, every sentence carefully judged and stylistically compelling. Because the phrases are short and cut like a knife, they manage to appeal to you directly at a subliminal level and stay with you for a long time.
The lyrical writing alone make this work of fiction a startling experience. This is not to say that Garza’s talent can only be found there. What we have here is a unique voice of a major literary author, a book that is philosophical and at the same time appeals deeply to our senses. Judging from the quality of the author’s output so far Cristina Rivera Garza will probably end up receiving some major international literary awards in the future. Unmissable.