The Bullet Swallower: A Novel

By Elizabeth Gonzalez James

Hardcover edition

Publisher Simon & Schuster Imprint Simon & Schuster (Adult) ISBN


The Bullet Swallower: A Novel

In stock


Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Drug Use/Abuse,Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur,Language: Strong Language,Sexual Content: Sexual Harassment,Violence: Cruelty to Animals,Violence: Gun Violence,Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape Reference/Discussion,Violence: Suicide

A dazzling magical realism western in the vein of Cormac McCarthy meets Gabriel García Márquez, The Bullet Swallower follows a Mexican bandido as he sets off for Texas to save his family, only to encounter a mysterious figure who has come, finally, to collect a cosmic debt generation in the making.

In 1895, Antonio Sonoro is the latest in a long line of ruthless men. He’s good with his gun and is drawn to trouble but he’s also out of money and out of options. A drought has ravaged the town of Dorado, Mexico, where he lives with his wife and children, and so when he hears about a train laden with gold and other treasures, he sets off for Houston to rob it—with his younger brother Hugo in tow. But when the heist goes awry and Hugo is killed by the Texas Rangers, Antonio finds himself launched into a quest for revenge that endangers not only his life and his family, but his eternal soul.

In 1964, Jaime Sonoro is Mexico’s most renowned actor and singer. But his comfortable life is disrupted when he discovers a book that purports to tell the entire history of his family beginning with Cain and Abel. In its ancient pages, Jaime learns about the multitude of horrific crimes committed by his ancestors. And when the same mysterious figure from Antonio’s timeline shows up in Mexico City, Jaime realizes that he may be the one who has to pay for his ancestors’ crimes, unless he can discover the true story of his grandfather Antonio, the legendary bandido El Tragabalas, The Bullet Swallower.

A family saga that’s epic in scope and magical in its blood, and based loosely on the author’s own great-grandfather, The Bullet Swallower tackles border politics, intergenerational trauma, and the legacies of racism and colonialism in a lush setting and stunning prose that asks who pays for the sins of our ancestors, and whether it is possible to be better than our forebears.

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Praise & Reviews

Library Journal

This book by expert forager Zachos (The Wildcrafted Cocktail; cohost, Plantrama) joins a number of other guides for finding and preparing wild edibles that derive from the parts or wholes of common flowers, weeds, trees, and shrubs. Enhanced by lavish photographs and a friendly narrative tone, the book offers a responsibly researched and charming take on why and when to forage, how to locate and identify 40 of the most common plants that may be collected safely, and what to do with them once they're brought home. The book directs readers to secondary sources for further research. There's also an index with both the Latin and common names of each plant, best preparation techniques, and caveats. The author also wisely urges would-be foragers to seek professional advice if there's even minor doubt about any plant's safety. VERDICT This handsome book has real utility as a field companion for safe, wild plant hunts.—Dorian Gossy

Adult Crossover Thrillers Plus (Grades 11 & Up)

Adult Crossover Thrillers Plus

Adult Crossover Thrillers Plus (Grades 11 & Up)

For Grades 11 & Up

This 14-book category includes suspenseful fiction and nonfiction for high school readers who are ready for adult reading.
*Take note: these selections often contain mature situations and language that could be considered controversial.

14 books per Year
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Fiction, Mature Readers, Thriller/Horror/Mystery, Novels, Realistic Fiction

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