horrors and pointlessness of the human experiment in this world, but he never lost his sense of wonder or curiosity. If Chuck Bowden ever wanted to commit suicide, people said, all hed have to do was stand on a street corner in Ciudad Jurez and wait for half an hour. We shared an irreverent outlook towards rules and authority. He didnt tick them off lists. Chicago Tribune, an extraordinary book - daring, genre-bending, literary, and intimate and excruciating portrait of the way murder-borne grief can tear a family to ribbons. The people with the sharpest senses of all are those still using them for their original purpose. In the early years of our friendship, there was a strong element of mentorship on his part.
One gets the sense of Bowden as a fiercely independent writer, saying exactly what he believes and ignoring the conventional classifications of the nonfiction trade. A few iotas less of truth will be spoken to power. Add diced potatoes, chicken stock and water. He still did most of the talking, and most of the interrupting. When I first met him, his house was the lair of a beast who worked and drank and smoked and never cleaned. Chuck would walk through any patchy vegetation, refusing to deviate his course, enjoying the sensation of thorns raking across his skin Using a thumbnail, peel the charred skins from the peppers, collect the clear juices, and slice up the flesh. After three days in the desert, all the senses start to blossom into life, and the most dramatic change takes place in the eyes. You start to see all the animal tracks, spider holes, desiccated droppings, bird nests. Id always listened very closely to music. Even when interviewing a cartel enforcer about the unbelievable atrocities he had committed, Chucks fingertips would be registering the texture of the tabletop that lay between them, because he was incapable of ignoring such a thing.
This was his everyday plonk: Aussie shiraz, rough and surly around the edges, high in alcohol, flavours of tar and cherry cheesecake. Alert to the possibility of danger, theyre watching the body language of an 11-year-old on a street corner three blocks away, a vehicle they dont recognise, a pause or a quickening in the normal rhythm of the street, unusually loud noises or unusual quietness.