Almost Never

Almost Never
A Novel
Daniel Sada; Translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
"What is so daring here? It's not Sada's depiction of the Madonna-whore complex, nor his take on the delusions of a Mexican macho—although both make for delicious burlesque. What's new is the voice, and Sada's glorious style. . . . It's impossible not to be swept along by Sada's manic language, his Cervantean plot twists and his affection for the hero who shares his initials."—Rachel Nolan, The New York Times Book Review

About the Book

“Of my generation I most admire Daniel Sada, whose writing project seems to me the most daring.”—Roberto Bolaño

This Rabelaisian tale of lust and longing in the drier precincts of postwar Mexico introduces one of Latin America’s most admired writers to the English-speaking world.

Demetrio Sordo is an agronomist who passes his days in a dull but remunerative job at a ranch near Oaxaca. It is 1945, World War II has just ended, but those bloody events have had no impact on a country that is only on the cusp of industrializing. One day, more bored than usual, Demetrio visits a bordello in search of a libidinous solution to his malaise. There he begins an all-consuming and, all things considered, perfectly satisfying relationship with a prostitute named Mireya.

A letter from his mother interrupts Demetrio’s debauched idyll: she asks him to return home to northern Mexico to accompany her to a wedding in a small town on the edge of the desert. Much to his mother’s delight, he meets the beautiful and virginal Renata and quickly falls in love—a most proper kind of love.

Back in Oaxaca, Demetrio is torn, the poor cad. Naturally he tries to maintain both relationships, continuing to frolic with Mireya and beginning a chaste correspondence with Renata. But Mireya has problems of her own—boredom is not among them—and concocts a story that she hopes will help her escape from the bordello and compel Demetrio to marry her. Almost Never is a brilliant send-up of Latin American machismo that also evokes a Mexico on the verge of dramatic change.

Additional Reviews

"Deliberately tedious yet weirdly captivating, Sada's writing is a marvel. . . . A strangely irresistible story of lust and tedium, Sada's final novel rewards readers' patience."—Shelf Awareness for Readers
The first English translation of Daniel Sada, Almost Never, is a bright introduction of this Spanish star who brings humor and unmatched style to the ordinary."The Rumpus
Almost Never—translated from Casa Nunca by Katherine Silver—recalls the Spanish Baroque more than the Latin American avant-garde. As in the plays of Lope de Vega, an intricate code of honor shapes his novel's plot, and, as much as Luis de Gongora, Sada revels in the labyrinths of preposterously convoluted prose. . . . Demetrio's courtship of Renata is played out as Mexican kabuki that makes a mockery of Puritanism, machismo and marriage."Dallas Morning News
"[Almost Never] is an extraordinary, wittily crass book."—PopMatters
"Even when it's not explicitly about sex, Daniel Sada's Almost Never has such a constant, manic, libidinous energy running through it that even the day-to-day scenes of its hero city-hopping around Mexico in the 1940s feel like a sneaky kind of foreplay. The novel is a dispatch straight from Sada's id. And thanks to its singular narrative voice, as well as some stellar translation by Katherine Silver, it makes for a bold first impression that English-language audiences won't soon forget."VUE Weekly
“[Sada] was one of the great prose stylists from Mexico in the last half-century. He came, like Renata, from the north, and his literary voice gyrates with a special, uniquely Mexican cacophony, offering endless surprises even while describing the quotidian. . . Almost Never [speaks] in a voice at once worldly and provincial, [and] has been heroically and astonishingly well translated by Katherine Silver.”—Ottawa Citizen
“Almost Never is like a comedy of manners cut with a pulpy erotic novel, a social satire impelled by a dripping lecherousness. Most of all, it’s a fantastic, exciting book.”—Full Stop
“[Sada] was one of the great prose stylists to come out of Mexico in the last half-century. . . . Francisco Goldman has described Sada as Joycean maximalist, which may sound highfalutin but is not too far from dead-on. You don’t peruse Sada; you plunge. . . . Here’s hoping that there is much, much more Sada via Silver to come.”Edmonton Journal
"Daniel Sada will be remembered in Mexico as a literary titan of his time, one of the most innovative novelists in contemporary Latin American letters. His books stand in startling contrast to the persona: They are a whirling riot of color, a wild cacophony of voices, an extravagant display of pyrotechnical prose."—Washington Post Book World