Author(s): Daniel Saldana Paris
"Brief, brilliantly written, and kissed by a sense of the absurd....like a much lazier, Mexico City version of Dostoevsky's Underground Man."John Powers, Fresh Air Daniel Saldana Paris knows how to talk about those other tragedies populating daily life: a boring, unwanted marriage; mind numbing office work; family secrets. He builds on those bricks of tedium a greatly enjoyable and splendidly well-written suburban farce. Yuri Herrera Rodrigo likes his vacant lot, its resident chicken, and being left alone. But when passivity finds him accidentally married to Cecilia, he trades Mexico City for the sun-bleached desolation of his hometown and domestic life with Cecilia for the debauched company of a poet, a philosopher, and Micaela, whose allure includes the promise of time travel. Earthy, playful, and sly, Among Strange Victims is a psychedelic ode to the pleasures of not measuring up.Daniel Saldana Paris (born Mexico City, 1984) is an essayist, poet, and novelist whose work has been translated into English, French, and Swedish and anthologized, most recently in Mexico20: New Voices, Old Traditions, published in the United Kingdom by Pushkin Press. Among Strange Victims is his first novel to appear in the United States. He lives in Montreal, Quebec."
The novel takes some bizarre turns as Marcelo leads Rodrigo into experiments involving drugs, tequila, hypnosis and more, all in the name of transformation. If the young man s notion of radical change is to take part in his life rather than observe it from afar, he s off to a good start. New York Times Full of odd twists and surprises. Among the high points are Saldana Paris' exasperated but affectionate paeans to 'the immense, beautiful city' that is Mexico's capital. Though a study of slothfulness and its discontents, a welcome book on which the author has clearly expended energy. Kirkus Saldana Paris s first novel to be translated Stateside is a leisurely story of slacking off that s nicely conveyed in a sharp, cynical tone. . . . Read this messy, shaggy picaresque for its ample page-by-page pleasures, which include devilishly clever syntax, a charming tendency to digress, and satisfying flashes of Rodrigo and Marcelo getting their act together. Publishers Weekly "Brief, brilliantly written, and kissed by a sense of the absurd....like a much lazier, Mexico City version of Dostoevsky's Underground Man." Fresh Air "Partnership is important, says this young, slacker, thirtysomething Mexican writer, even if it s only with a hen in a vacant lot." The Rumpus It s a novel that sneaks up on you in the best possible way. Vol. 1 Brooklyn, "Mid-Year 2016: The Year s Best Fiction (So Far) Daniel Saldana Paris s Among Strange Victims... is, despite the questions surrounding the Latin American canon, a natural successor in the Latin American oeuvre. Saldana Paris eases forward from the Crack and McOndo movements, yet still evokes the hues of Julio Cortazar s Hopscotch. But, perhaps most crucially, Among Strange Victims still wonders what this Latin American-ness could mean. Full Stop The real life absurdities surrounding Trump s visit are definitely stranger than the fictional absurdities Rodrigo faces, though I can t help but wonder if somehow these narratives are cosmically linked. Daniel Saldana Paris pulse on the Mexican psyche feels that precise, that honest, that timely. Ploughshares, "Daniel Saldana Paris Among Strange Victims Is the Book You Need in the Post-Trump-Visit-to-Mexico Era," review "The novel teases and revises questions about how to live a meaningful life with agency by turning them into a thought experiment that Saldana Paris handles with formal invention and a Millennial twist." Words Without Borders Daniel Saldana Paris first novel to be translated into English is an expertly composed, leisurely read that sucks you in but never spits you out. . . . this book is a must-read. Largehearted Boy For all Saldana Paris' sharp wit, Among Strange Victims is about waking up to the world's brighter possibilities. NPR, "Fresh Air" Although its stylized narrative can be an acquired taste, Among Strange Victims is deceptively affecting. Star Tribune It s a novel that comes at you from odd angles, making a memorable impression as it goes. Vol. 1 Brooklyn "In an easygoing, oddly entrancing style, Paris presents a meandering plot . . . but the events of the narrative pale in comparison to the surprising pleasure of the thoroughly offbeat prose. . . . Paris has mastered the art of spinning an outlandish, entertaining tale." Booklist It is impossible to read Among Strange Victims without being charmed by its wit and disarmed by its fierce and mysterious languor. In this novel, Daniel Saldana Paris asks how one should cope with the impossible burden of living your own lifeand gives a graceful riddle of an answer that will linger with you long after the book is done. Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine Translator Christina MacSweeney has done an excellent job bringing the intelligent vitality of Paris s prose into English. . . What has happened to the life of the artist, Among Strange Victims asks. Why do we so often build critical distances between ourselves and our lives? And how can we bridge those gaps? Electric Literature, "Among Strange Victims Captures the Complex Mind of an Outsider" Saldana Paris is a Montreal-based poet, essayist, and novelist, born in Mexico City, and, as this darkly humorous and thoughtful novel both in the sense of being contemplative and packed full of an onrush of thoughts proves, is a welcome infusion of vitality into North American literature. Bookslut Daniel Saldana Paris s Among Strange Victims, translated by Christina MacSweeney, immediately pulls the reader into its universe. It does so with such thorough and seamless skill that the reader becomes a victim of this strange, off-kilter world. Cleaver Magazine [Among Strange Victims is] an impressive work by a talented young writer. Largehearted Boy, Book Notes As I read [Among Strange Victims], I felt I was witnessing a great performance. It reminded me a little of young Mozart showing off at the emperor s golden harpsichord, giggling and improvising variations on Salieri s welcome march, startling all the wigged and powdered Viennese stiffs. And I sensed something desperate and inflamed in the writing too, as though the author assumed all along that nobody would ever read his book. That s probably what I like most about itthe cocky, indulgent, nihilistic virtuosity. BOMB Quirky and absurd, it s a funny, shambling look at the benefits (and drawbacks) of living life at your own lazy pace. Men s Journal "Saldana Paris writes with a gifted and confident prose that is as much the star of this singular novel as its unforgettable characters and delighting plot. This young Mexican writer (and poet, too) is surely one to watch, and if Among Strange Victims is but a harbinger of what s to come, then Saldana Paris may well have a long, fruitful, and fantastic career ahead of himself. Jeremy Garber, Powell s Books Critics have drawn comparisons between Paris s latest novel (his first to be translated in the United States) and the work of his blockbuster predecessor, Roberto Bolano. Brooklyn Magazine Daniel Saldana Paris, following in the tradition of di Lampedusa, shows that non-writersthat is to say, those who don t exclusively cultivate what s known as a literary lifeare the ones who make the best books. Mario Bellatin I rewrote the first forty pages of Among Strange Victims several times over two years before finding the right tone for it. It started being a very serious, philosophical novel, but with each new version it became more and more humorous. The Quarterly Conversation, interview with Scott Esposito"
Daniel Saldana Paris (born Mexico City, 1984) is an essayist, poet and novelist whose work has been translated into English, French, and Swedish and anthologized, most recently in Mexico20: New Voices, Old Traditions, published in the UK by Pushkin Press. Among Strange Victims is his first novel to appear in the US. He lives in Montreal. Christina MacSweeney has an MA in literary translation from the University of East Anglia and specializes in Latin American fiction. She has also translated Valeria Luiselli s novels, Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth, and essay collection, Sidewalks."