Cover image for The nature of truth
The nature of truth
Troncoso, Sergio, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
259 pages ; 25 cm.
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This convention-challenging suspense novel represents the next wave of Latino literature, eschewing the stereotypical story of poverty in the barrios or discrimination to explore the differences--and links--between righteousness and evil in the search for moral truth.
Helmut Sanchez is a young researcher in the employ of the renowned scholar Werner Hopfgartner. By chance Sanchez discovers a letter written in the 1950s by Hopfgartner mocking feelings of guilt over the Holocaust. Appalled, he digs into the scholar's life, determined to find the truth and finally uncovering the evidence of Hopfgartner's sordid past. Sure of his conclusions, Helmut decides that only one shocking act is morally correct. When he does, the consequences are immense, and the toll taken on his mind and conscience is amplified when one of his friends is wrongly accused of the crime-and is wrongly left to pay for it.
Intelligent and literate, "The Nature of Truth" breaks new ground in Latino literature, focusing on how a contemporary man of unique heritage--a Mexican-German who has come to America by way of Germany--navigates a complex moral universe and how his journey reflects the tension between justice and righteousness in American life.
Further information about the author can be found at his web site: http: //

Author Notes

Sergio Troncoso grew up in Ysleta, a community on the east side of El Paso, Texas. His first book, The Last Tortilla and Other Stories (Arizona, 1999), won the Premio Aztlán and the Southwest Book Award. He currently teaches a fiction writing workshop at Yale University during the summer. He lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

One day, while routinely conducting research for a distinguished scholar of German at Yale, Helmut Sanchez accidentally stumbles upon some devastating evidence that he believes unequivocally incriminates the professor in some unspeakable Nazi atrocities. With clues in hand, he hopes to find the proof in a rare-book collection in the library of a central European monastery. Once the truth has been ascertained to Helmut's satisfaction on the flimsiest of evidence, Troncoso (The Last Tortilla and Other Stories) shifts gears from mystery to murder, as Helmut, crazed with his altruistic, humanitarian, but misguided vision of moral and intellectual superiority, murders the professor. For the rest of the novel, Troncoso plays cat and mouse with the reader, who keeps wondering whether Helmut will confess or get caught. Elements of the plot are contrived and implausible, Helmut lacks a sufficient motive for murder, and the overall story is shamelessly derivative of Crime and Punishment. Despite details of what the characters eat, how they dress, and where they live (down to the names of real New Haven streets), the story moves quickly but ultimately leaves one feeling cheated-and wondering what this academic publisher saw in Troncoso's book. Recommended only for libraries whose patrons have an insatiable thirst for the genre.-Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.