Goodfellas meets White Fang. A gripping coming of age thriller of vengeance and destiny set between Mexico City’s murderous 1960s underworld and the bleak tundras of Canada’s most remote province. By the BAFTA-winning screenwriter of Amores Perros.
Yukon, Canada’s far north. A young man tracks a wolf through the wilderness. The one his grandfather warned him about: “Of all the wolves you will see in your life, one alone will be your master.”
In Mexico City, Juan Guillermo has pledged vengeance. For his murdered brother, Carlos. For his parents, sentenced to death by their grief.
But in 1960s Mexico justice is sold to the highest bidder, and the Catholic fanatics who killed Carlos are allied to Zunita, a corrupt and influential police commander.
If he is to quench his thirst for revenge Juan Guillermo will have to answer his inner call of the wild and discover what links his destiny to a hunter on the other side of America.
An epic novel of revenge and retribution, in which the story of a teenage boy seeking vengeance for the murder of his brother by a sinister cabal is interwoven with that of an Inuit wolf hunter and his prey, The Untameable is a story of pure adventure, unfolding in the fragmented, non-linear fashion that Arriaga is famous for, and set against a backdrop of repression, police brutality and Church intrigue.
This book is an experience and very different in style, texture and feel of anything I’ve read for years at least. Maybe this is because of his screenwriter and cultural differences, but at times some things jarred to me for no other reason than I didn’t think that’s how a novel should be – so the problem is probably with me!
Saying that this novel is good, very good in fact; the characterisation is excellent and I was invested from the first chapter. The settings are superbly visual, which is what you would expect really, and you can almost smell the air walking through Mexico City.
The main character Juan, suffers the tragedy of his families deaths early on and the one that seems to affect him the most is that of his brother Carlos, for whom he must seek justice/vengeance. You follow his story through a series of other, smaller stories.
The other main character is Amaruq, part Inuit, part Scot, hunting a wolf in a Canadian winter. They later connect in the most fascinating way!
This is a fascinating, visceral and satisfying book in many ways. I feel that I learnt so much about Mexico and Canada, embracing and diving into those cultures as well as the psyches of the main characters.
If you want to immerse yourself in a different world make sure to dive into this book!
About the Author
Guillermo Arriaga is a Mexican author, screenwriter, director and producer. Self-defined as “a hunter who works as a writer,” he is best known for his Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations for Babel and his screenplay for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which received the 2005 Cannes Best Screenplay Award. He has written and published several books in Spanish, but this is one of only a select few translated into English.
Massive thanks to the Quercus and MacLehose Press team for involving me in this blog blast! Loved this book and if you’re tempted to buy your own copy go to the Bookshop.org link below:
Thank you so much for reading.