"About a quarter of the way through Horse Latitudes, a woman asks Ethan, the book's troubled protagonist, if he wants to die or if he's just an asshole? "Ethan didn't see why it had to be one or the other," Morris Collins writes. And that was when I knew: this is the best debut novel of the year, hands down. Comparisons to Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Malcolm Lowry practically write themselves, but Horse Latitudes also calls to mind such modern noir greats as James Crumley and Kem Nunn. Ethan's story is a febrile journey into an unknown landscape, a table-side seat at a game of Russian roulette that has no winners. It's also erudite, funny and sexy as hell."
Wandering without hope in a place that obeys only raw power, he meets a woman who saves his life and, in return, extracts his promise to rescue her sister, Mirabelle, from a Central American country on the brink of revolution before Mirabelle can be lured into deeper danger by the false coyote Soto. Pursued through crumbling cities and down a jungle river, Ethan finds himself in a country where personal and political traumas converge in a guerrilla war in which the sides are unclear and the stakes beyond reckoning. Ethan sought absolution and relief when he abandoned everything he knew, but to save Mirabelle, he must make a choice that will place him far beyond the borders of redemption.
Horse Latitudes is a lushly-written modern gothic — part thriller, part nightmarish journey into the moral uncertainty at the heart of the American experience in Central America.
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