Los Angeles Review of Books calls The Beast a “tour de force”


In a December 28th review, Aaron Shulman, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, gives Óscar Martínez’s The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail high praise, calling it a “tour de force” and “one of the books I loved most from 2013.”

Lauding Martínez’s account of migrants’ harrowing journey across borders as both a journalistic and literary feat, Shulman says:

The result of such an all-in effort is a painfully reported, lapidarily written, and viscerally affecting narrative. The Beast, like so many great books, lands on you with a revelatory frisson, the arrival of a story we didn’t know we were waiting to hear.

Martínez’s unrelenting drive as a reporter anchors the stories he tells with gritty detail and an immersive knowledge of his subject matter, but it is this combined with his poet’s eye which makes reading The Beast such a vivid, devastating experience. From the “insolent thug walk, that hard, body-teetering limp” of a migrant named Pitbull, to the “trebley beat” of music on a tense bus ride,” to “the calm emptiness of the narco desert,” every person and place in The Beast throbs with texture and realness.

Visit the Los Angeles Review of Books to read the review in full. 

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