Monday, May 07, 2007

Christine Thomas reviews José Carlos Somoza's "Zig Zag".

If time travel were possible, where and to what occasion would you desire a visit? Cuban-born Spanish author Jose Carlos Somoza recently told an interviewer that his top choices would be the age of dinosaurs and the Jerusalem of Jesus' time, so it's not unexpected that his new novel, "Zig Zag," centers on a covert government project that retrieves moments from precisely those eras.

Though initially uncomplicated, the story belies a scrupulously researched and truly terrifying thriller derived from the horrors of our imaginations. Staging the story in 2005 and 2015 allows Somoza to explore our post-9/11 landscape, which -- as one of the main characters, physicist Professor Blanes, explains to Elisa, the protagonist and his one-time student -- is one where fear rules and Western countries invest more in arms than science. It is a time where "now all we have are lies."

Physics and terror may not seem overtly compelling subjects, but the novel is less about science and governments and more about people: scientists who aren't so different from other curious people who want answers and set out to unearth them. Elisa Robledo is the center of the book, a competitive professor with incongruous good looks and a gifted brain for physics who is also a mysterious recluse. Her only friend is Victor, a fellow physics professor and a benign companion who prefers plants and riddles to people. This affinity for puzzles launches the story, for when Elisa unexpectedly contacts him to arrange a meeting, she does so through code, one that leads to another test as she permits him entry into her private world of terror:

"You have no idea, no idea, the degree of evil I'm talking about, Victor. I've never told anyone; I swore I wouldn't. But I can't take it anymore. I have to tell someone, and you're the one I chose." Read More

José Carlos Somoza was born in November 13th, 1959 in Havana, Cuba, and lives in Spain since 1960.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to my review of Zig Zag. I also reviewed his earlier novel, the Athenian Murders. The link can be found on my site through this post url: http://www.literarylotus.com/2007/04/dinosaurs-and-jesus.html

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