Hollywood and I and Mad City
By Javi Cillero
The caretaker of a collection of exotic animals embarks on a dangerous relationship with a mobster's girlfriend; the tragedy of Oediupus is retold as a Western with a happy ending; revenge is wreaked on a Bilbao art dealer for his past transgressions. In these two short story collections--"Hollywood and I" and "Mad City," brought together here and published in English fro the first time, Javi Cillero creates an astonishing variety of different worlds: Basque cities and a city of the West; the Nevada desert; jetliners, trains, cars, ferries; classic cinema and Greek myths and legends; and much much more. All are written into existence with a distinctive voice that blends noir fiction and dark humor. These stories generally tell the stories of outsiders, and it is no coincidence that thus the city of Reno, Nevada, also forms a central heart of many stories: like them, it is a place of missed connections, of sad and broken histories, and yet has the capacity for the human spirit to persevere against the odds. The characters here are just as varied as the stories themselves: witnesses and students, cowboys and art dealers, outsider and insiders and blends of the two. The stories almost defy summary in the incredible flowering of their imaginary worlds, just as desert flowers surprise with their splash of color in the otherwise gray sagebrush steppe.