If anyone can claim to have the lifeblood of Mexico pumping from the nib of his pen, it's Don Eric Carroll. This roguish former Ranchero knows exactly what he's talking about when it comes to heat, dust and wild cantina revelry. His first great novel, 'Pancho' was a heady spoonful of what this exotic country can offer, but his latest offering, 'Pancho II', is arguably even better. It's both a prequel and a sequel to that first mighty tome!
Don Eric is a writer who enjoys, to quote from the book itself, 'the land's naked beauty around him.' It's this sense of place that sets him apart from so many other more formulaic authors. He drops his reader right amongst this smorgasbord of sound and smells to sit alongside his characters and bear witness to all their trials and tribulations. Much like in the first novel, there's a plethora of amusing anecdotes and escapades, but there's also something deeper going on in Pancho II. In this novel, Don Eric gives more free rein to his powers of reflection. There are many poignant passages and descriptions like, for instance, in the chapters dealing with the famous 'Day of the Dead.' Here, Don Eric wisely sidesteps the temptation to focus on the usual garish fancy-dress aspects to this festival. Instead, he addresses the underlying spirituality and its manifestations in the daily lives of his characters. It's understated and all the more effective and it is these more reflective passages that I particularly enjoyed about Pancho II.
Whilst we might not all be brave enough to embrace the life changes that Don Eric has done, we can at least share in his stories. This book will remain as a testament to a life lived with passion and verve. Get your copy whilst you can. To read Don Eric is to 'squeeze a bit more out of life.'