IT IS VERY EASY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL today to isolate themselves and let life pass them by; this is what Aaron Noble did until he learned of a fatal disease he had with a year to live. Having ostracized himself from a mother who was an alcoholic, a father who lived thousands of miles away who had started a second family, and a brother in and out of jail who was now a Bandito biker, the only person he was close to was his sister, married in Florida. Happy to let life go by counting his pennies and watching his favorite baseball team the Texas Rangers, the out-of-the-blue news of his illness caused him to quit his job in Corpus Christi Texas and move to Quito in Ecuador to relax on the beaches and see what life was like in one of the cheapest places in the world to reinvent himself. Noble knew his weaknesses and was hell-bent on correcting them, determined to say yes to life rather than shunning the riches of life. But despite his noble intentions, life in Ecuador was nothing like he had expected.
A man who is dying does not procrastinate so from the first day onwards he threw himself into the life on the old seat of Inca power, a city nestled on a plateau 9000 feet above sea level in the Andes. The culture was different but it was the people he met who had the biggest effect on him, men of experience who had lived extraordinary lives who couldn’t return to their parochial hometowns wherever they were, Britain, South Africa, Holland – they had chosen to retire in Quito as if it were Aldous Huxley’s land of non-conformists from Brave New World. Indeed with homeland security and the war of terror amassing itself throughout America and infiltrating once-protected privacies of citizens, South America was a last bastion of freedom and laissez-faire lawlessness that was both dangerous and exciting, precisely the mixture Noble wanted. But it was when he met the Dane that things really took off down the fast lane, drugs, women and the network of respected men who roamed the streets in the city’s Mariscal all became part of his life.
As Noble delved deeper into his new life he saw a new side of himself manifest when his crippled little boy fascist who had run his life for forty-eight years couldn’t deal with the demands put on him. It was his doppelganger who he called Reno who blossomed in this milieu, an outspoken balls-to-Monty voice who didn’t care a damn, who thrived on wit and engaging interesting people from around the world, envying their lives yet relishing his present that he too was finally living up to his potential. Bullfights, road-trips, surfing and imbibing in the local narcotics ushered him into another world, one that he revered but always with the knowledge that it would not last. This pushed him further into addiction and freebasing with the Dane who had lived two lives by the time he was forty-two, a man who knew the value of friendship and who showed Noble undying loyalty, being his brother and wingman in an extraordinary time.
It is a story of a man finally becoming a man, a nobody becoming an individual respected for who he was, and about a man discovering his true self as his body rapidly disintegrated. Honest, riveting and non-fiction, this is a novel not to be forgotten.