Review of American Triptych


american_triptych_84x125 …what materializes is a kind of new-fashioned novel in that the author creates for the reader an all-American story that is still exotic and almost foreign in its implementation. …a spontaneous journey that is surprising in story and frolicsome in its execution. …unlike anything else out there.

Justin A. Ulloa
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University


Carlos Rubio’s AMERICAN TRIPTYCH charts new realms of satire. It’s a sort of cross between Gulliver’s Travels and Zap Comix with a dash of Pynchon thrown in. Rubio’s hero “comes of age” with girls aplenty and Neo-Baroque gusto. He’s a foundling who grows and immigrates to a land of his own robust freedoms. American Triptych is a trip and a hot ticket too.

The whole saga re-envisions this land we know, investing it with comic gold. America emerges symbolically as both the world’s womb and the battering ram. Characters roam the fertile void of our land and its deep end opportunity. Sex assumes its more than rightful place; law and order break down along class lines as wild things seize the saddle and entropy sows the American dream.

In The Neophyte visit the Fetal Attraction (tavern for all who can’t grow up). Belt bourbon with Sister Gravity who is nun too refined but can nurture the young hero (as he haunts the Convent of the Righteous Path). Grow up with a boy whose priapic philosophy of education replaces placement tests. Imagine a degree in Hedonism, a reign of pleasure, a philosopher of fun!

With Bullwhip join lovers in cars that race, in clubs that never close, in joyous trouble with time. Beatitude vies with being lost as Bullwhip apes Dionysus in circles of suburban hell. A tent revival rivals a film farce with a script by Chaucer or Cheech & Chong. A sheriff named Lovelace fondles his gun but loses his grip on vice. You will seek the next play on words, the next fable of liberty run amok in America.

For California Fever will reveal all and nothing less than blithe capers, infinite jest, or national amnesia. Seeking the shadowy Wheezer, Rubio’s plucky hero (now called “The Rocker”) is launched into the highlife and hubris of heavy-metal bands as the lead singer of Gold Ru$h. From there it’s a short, suspenseful leap to politics where the mock pieties that define him lead to a thrilling finish.

You have arrived in Rubio’s realm. The Neo-Baroque style grows in Latin American literature, but Carlos crafts these books in his own supple English that conveys the amplitude of tongues employed in the service of Eros. Revel in the rotund sentences. Listen to a Cambodian monk sanctify body fluids and wisely lead our hero west or east.

Carlos Rubio’s books show a storied career that careens in comic arcs of delight. American Triptych’s hero is something old made new for a new century. He’s a swashbuckler who takes on the spiritual windmills of our time. The satire explodes our moldy myths that mask hypocrisy. As you turn these pages, your brow will unfurrow as great, fertile America unfolds in laughter.
F. Ethan Fischer

Editor of Antietam Review

Author of Beached in the Hourglass

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