Wild Steps of Heaven

Wild Steps of Heaven - Victor Villaseñor Violent. If I had to describe this book in one word, that is what I would choose. The book brims with raw emotion, detailed descriptions of corporal functions, sex and defecation, rape and sexual ecstasy/exaltation too, aspects of earthiness and heavenly beliefs. The author clearly wants to tie these qualities to how people relate to their fate and God. This was over the top for me. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Dick Hill. He put his soul into every word spoken. A book that is emotionally raw and gripping can become almost intolerable to listen to with such a talented reader. His voice is one minute soft and gentle and then harsh and screaming. At the end it was dispassionate, when the story itself was over.

This is a story about the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s. It is about the Mexican culture. It is about the conflict between earth and heaven, Catholicism and ancient Mexican beliefs, Native Indians and Spaniards. It is about love. All of these conflicting forces play out against each other. I sat back in horror and observed. To put it bluntly, everybody did exactly what they wished and exclaimed how God was on their side. But I do believe it accurately depicts Mexican history and culture as it played out in one family, the family of the author’s ancestors. This is a book of historical fiction with magical realism thrown in. What is magical and what is real is all a matter of interpretation….and your own beliefs.

I am glad I read the book, so I give it three stars. Some parts I liked; some I hated. It was not an easy read. I think the presentation is accurate and thus not enjoyable to follow. What happens is gritty and crude. Much violence is committed with the belief that such is almost inevitable. I would recommend it to those of you who are curious about the Mexican Revolution and culture, not the historical details, but how the people perceived it and lived through it.

ETA: the author clearly is saying we should not use violence, but the book is filled with it. Is it our fate?