Patterson, Jorge Zepeda. “Milena, or The Most Beautiful Femur in the World’, translated by Adrian Nathan West, Restless Books, 2017.
Sex, Power and Information
Milena’s lover and protector and the chief of Mexico’s most important newspaper, died in her arms. She then understood that in a matter of time, the thugs behind the human-trafficking ring that kidnapped her from her Croatian village will find and catch her and then force her back into sex slavery.
We meet three comrades who are held together by childhood friendships, romantic entanglements, and a desire for justice and they are also after Milena but for different reasons. These three include the new head of the newspaper, columnist Tomás Arizmendi, who must find Milena’s mysterious black book before his media empire that he had inherited is ripped apart, intelligence expert Jaime Lemus who wants to use what the black book contains about the crimes of the world’s power elite to further his political intrigues and politician Amelia Navarro has made it her mission to protect women and children from the abuses of men in power. Just knowing this little bit about the plot already gives you an idea about what to expect here.
This is a book that moves quickly and keeps the reader turning pages. There is wonderful humor here but there also serious issues such as the very large networks of capital, data, crime, and coerced labor. We are reminded that the survivors of the darker facets of modernity are not just numbers but living people. Writer Patterson’s prose is vivid and we can actually picture what we read but it is also complex and it makes us aware that corruption and power can be partners. I am sure that the author did intensive research to write this book— everything is based upon facts that he collected.