Last Stop Salina Cruz, David Lalé

Last Stop Salina Cruz, David Lalé

David Lale on Last Stop Salina Cruz:

On the outbreak of the First World War, the notorious poet-boxer and draft-dodger Arthur Cravan embarked on a mad flight that took him from modernist Paris to revolutionary Mexico and the mysterious fate that awaited him there.

Ninety years later I set out in his footsteps in the hope of recovering what really happened to him. The journey took me first to Paris, where Cravan made a name for himself through masochistic public spectacles; to Barcelona, where he fought the legendary World Heavyweight Champion, Jack Johnson; to New York, where he tangled with Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaists; and then to Mexico, where, after a doomed affair with the beautiful English poetess Mina Loy, he finally vanished without trace.

I hitch-hiked across Europe and America, but for me this wasn’t a holiday so much as a mission. Beyond my fascination with the legend of Cravan there was another, more sinister motive driving me. As the story takes me further and further from my former life, it emerges that, like Cravan, I was running from something dark, dangerous, and more than a little embarrassing.

The shape of this book is a Prozac-fuelled descent into a nightmare world of motorway sidings, hotel kitchens, and backpackers desperate for small talk; it is a one-way ticket to unrestrained misanthropy and terminal neurosis. The story reaches its climax in the desolate oil town of Salina Cruz, the site of Cravan disappearance. Only here does the true purpose of my project at last become apparent.

Alma Books / Papyros Publications

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