No moment of Jodorowsky’s book is at all predictable, and those who have a taste for the uncanny will be in awe over its undulations into strange, even godly, territory.
Composed like a feverish fairytale, Albina and the Dog-Men is a South American parable of self-acceptance and belonging that is fueled by prurience and colored with vivid, hallucinogenic details.
Crabby is not the boy that her Yiddish-speaking father wanted, but he dubs her “Isaac” anyway. His general indifference instills in her a sense that she is a hopeless misfit. When Albina, a beautiful, unearthly woman with no memory and endless appeal, appears before her, she experiences her first real sense of human connection.
But Albina attracts all measure of salacious and dangerous characters, too, and soon she and Crabby must flee from the most vicious of these—into a town that death has forgotten, guarded by killer bees, and accompanied by a hatmaker who tucks thoughts of suicide away for the duo’s sake. Albina’s gyrations prove to be too much for the town, though, whose inhabitants are existentially threatened by the particular developments in her sex appeal. She and Crabby set out on a last quest: to find a cure for Albina’s otherworldly and transformative powers.
No moment of Jodorowsky’s book is at all predictable or familiar, and those who have a taste for the uncanny will be in awe over its undulations into strange, even godly, territory. The sensuality of the prose thickens as Albina’s situation becomes more tenuous, resulting in heady and appealing constructions:
She sensed all the good smells, the severe honey taste of salt, the dense plummy savor of the rocks, the musk of geraniums wafting like a trail of mosquitoes, the drizzle of incense falling from the invisible stars.
As Albina and her followers traipse over barren lands and into forests protected by ancient Incans, the novel winds toward territory both magical and needfully human. The surreal methods of redemption in the novel’s final pages prove both glorious and moving. Jodorowsky’s is a work of unforgettable weirdness, a work whose movements are directed by sometimes violent mysticism and whose final lessons may speak to all who have ever dreamed of transformation.
Michelle Anne Schingler
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