by Jj Amaworo Wilson
Uses magical realism, revolutionary politics, and romantic adventure to bring to life a colorful community of squatters in an imaginary Latin American city.
Damnificados is loosely based on the real-life occupation of a half-completed skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, the Tower of David. In this fictional version, 600 "damnificados"--vagabonds and misfits--take over an abandoned urban tower and set up a community complete with schools, stores, beauty salons, bakeries, and a rag-tag defensive militia. Their always heroic (and often hilarious) struggle for survival and dignity pits them against corrupt police, the brutal military, and the tyrannical "owners." Taking place in an unnamed country at an unspecified time, the novel has elements of magical realism: avenging wolves, biblical floods, massacres involving multilingual ghosts, arrow showers falling to the tune of Beethoven's Ninth, and a trash truck acting as a Trojan horse.
"Turning contemporary realities to legend takes a talent as rare and special as JJ Amaworo Wilson's. Through his narrative rich in danger, adventure, humor, romance, and risk, he can raise essential questions without succumbing to earnestness or didacticism." --Diane Lefer, LA Progressive
"Thoughtful and intense, but with a core of humility and self-awareness, Damnificados is an extraordinary, magical, inspiring tale of community and conscience." --Pallas Gates McCorquodale, Foreword Reviews
About the Author:
JJ Amaworo Wilson is a prize-winning author of more than 20 books about language and language learning. His short fiction has been published by Penguin, Johns Hopkins University Press, and myriad literary magazines in England and the United States. He lives in Silver City, New Mexico.