Fuentes serves up a vampire yarn in a minimalist style. Compared to many of his other works, this one is straightforward, short, and perhaps a departure from his ordinary fare.
What begins as a hilarious and subtly creepy familial tale, complete with comedic and eccentric descriptions of a Count morphs into psychologically disturbing territory. Culminating in a bleak and eerie crescendo of terror, the relentlessness of fate, the literary, utilitarian language and the dark humor will appeal to many brave readers.
The old theme of temptation, and the dread of death, in all of its embodiments drives the narrator. One of the character calls history “a garbage dump of lies.” And one of the short chapters is devoted to criticizing the ill-wrought secrets of human progress.
If you’re not ready for Terra Nostra, come savor the seamy dreamlike imagery of Vlad, nibble on the symbolism, sip at the bloody and noxious fountain of its perversion.