"What is the value of an object, a piece of art, a human life? According to Gustavo “Highway” Sanchez Sanchez, the hero of Valeria Luiselli’s exceptional second novel, the value of all these things stems from our ability to turn them into a great story. The book follows Highway’s quixotic quest to become the greatest auctioneer in the world, honing his ability to convert meaningless trinkets into priceless objects through linguistic prowess alone. Luiselli’s unforgettable narrator dictates his biography as if he were at the auction house; he depicts his life not as it was but as it should have been, as a more valuable and compelling story. Written in collaboration with a group of factory workers in Mexico City, The Story of My Teeth explores the relationship between language, labor, and delusion. It asks us to consider the true value of our words, and whether it is better to believe in the story we tell ourselves more than the story we are actually living."
Publisher Coffee House Press
Publication Date 2015-09-15
Section New Titles - Paperback / Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Elliott R.
I was born in Pachuca, the Beautiful Windy City, with four premature teeth and my body completely covered in a very fine coat of fuzz. But I'm grateful for that inauspicious start because ugliness, as my other uncle, Eurípides López Sánchez, was given to saying, is character forming.
Gustavo 'Highway' Sánchez is a man with a mission: he is planning to replace every last one of his unsightly teeth. He has a few skills that might help him on his way: he can imitate Janis Joplin after two rums, he can interpret Chinese fortune cookies, he can stand an egg upright on a table, and he can float on his back. And, of course, he is the world's best auction caller - although other people might not realize this, because he is, by nature, very discreet.
Studying auctioneering under Grandmaster Oklahoma and the famous country singer Leroy Van Dyke, Highway travels the world, amassing his collection of 'Collectibles' and perfecting his own specialty: the allegoric auction. In his quest for a perfect set of pearly whites, he finds unusual ways to raise the funds, culminating in the sale of the jewels of his collection: the teeth of the 'notorious infamous' - Plato, Petrarch, Chesterton, Virginia Woolf et al.
Written with elegance, wit, and exhilarating boldness, Valeria Luiselli takes us on an idiosyncratic and hugely enjoyable journey that offers an insightful meditation on value, worth, and creation, and the points at which they overlap.