The Tyranny of Flies
by Elaine Vilar Madruga
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Pub Date 25 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 20 Aug 2024
In this provocative, darkly funny, and unique novel—a mix of Lord of the Flies and The Royal Tenenbaums—a dictator's former right-hand man becomes housebound and a family power struggle erupts.
Growing up on a Cuba-esque Caribbean island, Casandra, Calia, and Caleb endure life under two tyrannies: that of their parents, and the Island’s authoritarian dictator, Pop-Pop Mustache. Papa was the dictator's former right-hand man. Now, he’s a political pariah and an ugly parody of a tyrant, treating his home as a nation which he rules with an iron fist. As for Mom, his wife and hateful second in command, she rules from the mind. Obsessed with armchair psychoanalysis, she spends her days reading self-help books and seeks to diagnose the kids, and perhaps even herself.
But within these walls, a rebellion is fomenting. Casandra, a cynical, self-important teenager with the most unlikely of attractions, recruits Caleb, meek yet gifted with a deadly touch, to join her in an insurrection against their father’s arbitrary totalitarianism. Meanwhile, Calia, the silent, youngest sibling who just wants to be left alone to draw animals, may be in league with the flies—whose swarm in and around the house grows larger as Papa’s violence increases.
Equal parts Greek tragedy and horror, with a touch of J.D. Salinger and Luis Buñuel, The Tyranny of Flies is a biting and wholly original subversive masterpiece that examines the inherent violence of authority and the frightening and indelible links between patriarchy, military, and family.
Translated from the Spanish by Kevin Gerry Dunn