What kind of book is it?

Just as some persons (like me) won’t buy a jar of spaghetti sauce without first reading the ingredients from the label, some readers choose specific kinds of books-they read action novels or mysteries or romances.  So, what kind of  book is The Mechanic of San Martín?  Not (or, I choose not to make it) a completely simple question.

In book marketing there are numerous dichotomies:  fiction versus non-fiction, commercial fiction versus literary, mid-list versus breakout books, escape reading (variously described as popcorn, fluff, or ‘airplane books’) versus “serious” reading, educational versus entertaining.  There are specialty niches that target small or unique markets, such as text books, poetry, and religious books and niches within each category (such as “how-to” and self-improvement books among non-fiction), but these are the main divisions.

If, as I’ve done, you pay attention to what literary agents say they want to represent-because that’s what publishers want to buy-these dichotomies are crucial:  on average agents prefer non-fiction to fiction two to one, commercial (”genre”) novels over literary, naturally breakout works (the kind that make best-seller lists or win awards) first and foremost, and, unless they’re textbooks, entertaining over educational.

The next book I peddle I will pick the genre that comes closest to the flavor of the book and insist that’s what it is.  If it seems mainly adventurous, it’s going to be an adventure novel.  If it seems mainly romantic, it’s going to be a romance.  Et cetera.

The Mechanic of San Martín is an example of a book that, at first blush, is hard to pigeonhole.  Not at all.  My aim in writing has ever been to take characters representing ordinary persons, confront them with the accidents that happen to all of us, and have them respond in surprising, if not extraordinary, ways.  My mechanic, Rigoberto, doesn’t set out to have two wives, he falls prey to compassion that morphs into passion.  When his (legal) wife dies he implodes, but gets goaded into action by Shula Rosenthal.  What follows is not what she nor anyone else expected of him, hiding out in a mountain cave, and he never expects to encounter a talking wolf nor a sorcerer.

Adventure?  New Age?  Romance?  Literary?  Mainstream?  Hopefully it’s entertaining and a little popcorn mixed with some seriousness.

I’ll take any of those.  I think the prose is decent and the story interesting, and you can call it what you want.  After you read it, please tell me how you’d classify it.  (See:  Contact Me.)