Author: Albert Espinosa
Description: Have you ever read anything that should’ve been quite disturbing but had the opposite effect on you and somehow made you feel… warmth? Something like listening to your parents read you a bedtime story only they’re really reading you Trainspotting, or like sipping a cup of coffee by the fire sitting on a rocking chair while wearing a cowboy hat and speedos. This book is a real fuzzy ball, mirroring a man’s shadow into a psychedelic spectrum of love and sex. Albert Espinosa creates a world not unlike something out of Brautigan, with the wisdom of Coelho suffused with real emotion channeling Nicholas Sparks. For those looking for something different, this is for you.
Welcome to Earth, a place where people can now decide never to sleep, a place where you buy dreams and kill it. Marcos has a special ability; at a glance he can see people’s happiest and darkest memories. He can empathize with a total stranger or alienate his closest friends, he can see into anyone with just one look. That’s why he likes sleeping, it gives him a reprieve, a time when he knows nothing and everything is a lull. But then his mom dies and he decides to buy the vaccine that will cure him of sleep forever. But just as he’s about to stay awake for all eternity, two things happen that will change his life: he falls in love with a stranger, and the government captures the first extraterrestrial in history. Sound strange enough for you?
Espinosa highlights many things in this curious little book, the importance of sleeping, making connections, taking the leap of faith, and bravery in love, life and sex. He equips Marcos’ with lots of tender memories of his mother and their experiences her giving him advice on all things and as you read it feels like being caressed by a loved one and an unmistakable feeling or warmth envelops you. Even the extraterrestrial’s memories create nostalgia for love you’ve never encountered.
“People forget that they should ask for caresses and kisses. Never think that it is up to your partner. If only you could understand that the actions related to sex have to be decriminalized.
A caress, a kiss, asking for the warmth of a hand on your belly button shouldn’t be linked to the feeling that they will provoke or result in sex. A hug shouldn’t last ten seconds, or thirty, it can last eight minutes if need be. Stroking a body doesn’t have to always mean sex. You have to appreciate the caress as part of your life. Decriminalize it within your life.
Just like you laugh at somebody’s joke and you accept that their words make you happy, you shouldn’t fear telling someone that their skin, their eyes, their mouth make you feel something else. We have to decriminalize sexual acts, bring them into real life, everyday life, and tie them to life instead of sex. Do you understand, Marcos?
After the long monologue I continued with my hand on her belly button for a good while. I felt the plaza’s bravery in me and I kissed her neck with my lips.
I didn’t feel sex, I felt life.”
This book takes on subjects that alienate us and makes us see the good in what we’re missing: an open honest relationship with your mother, a healthy lustless need to feel someone’s touch, the importance of dreaming, falling in love with someone you don’t know, learning to value unrequited love, and accepting people of different backgrounds and walks of life.
Different, strange, unknown, alien – it’s just a matter of getting to know, of opening up. You’ll be surprised at what you might find.
“I don’t want to take them. I don’t want this second life to be different than it was created to be. And above all, I don’t want to stop sleeping, because, when I wake up, I want to find you by my side for a long time. I don’t want to miss that image of seeing you come back to life every day.”
At the end of it all the weird, strange aspect of the story melts and feels all too familiar. What’s left is this unmistakable feeling of warm comfort.
Embrace different, embrace the unexpected, embrace life.
(Note: I’d like to thank Netgalley and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial for giving me an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.)
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