The protagonist Manuel Cruz, a Cuban-American, comes to live in the South American country of Banador with a set of values quite different from that of the natives. He has a strong appreciation for truth, but in Banador too much truth can get you killed; and this is what could possibly happen to Manuel.
The novel is full of ironies and reversals of roles. The point of view is exclusively first person. We are always in the mind of the main character, Manuel Cruz. This contributes to the imminence and realism of the narration. However, although the protagonist remains throughout most of the novel confined to a hut and its immediate surroundings, Manuel’s mind wanders to his remote as well as recent past. Through this interior monologue or narrative, we are allowed to travel to places such as Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Havana, Miami, and Bogota.
The author Pedro C. Lopez, in his style of imaginative writing, comes across as an interesting mixture of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, and Stieg Larsson. Lopez exhibits the same preoccupation and even obsession with conscience as Dostoyevsky and creates a fantastic character in the form of a talking giant Galapagos turtle reminiscent of Kafka’s insect-like Gregor Samsa. Lopez also denounces the cancerous innards of a Banadorian political society as rotten to the core as that of Larsson’s own in Sweden.