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Search tags: mexico-central-america
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review 2016-06-03 21:33
Sudden Death
Sudden Death: A Novel - Álvaro Enrigue,Natasha Wimmer

"As I write, I don't know what this book is about", p. 203.

I don't really know either, but I don't feel bad about it after reading that.

I learned a lot about random things: real tennis, 16th century Popes and bishop and cardinals, Mexican featherwork, Caravaggio, Cortes. Thanks you google and wikipedia for being there for me as I read. Mostly I guess the book is about various people in the 16th century. Is the tennis game an allegory? I have no idea, I am not good with allegories. What does this book mean? I have no idea.

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review 2016-05-27 06:11
The Burning Plain and Other Stories
The Burning Plain and Other Stories (Texas Pan American Series) - George D. Schade,Kermit Oliver,Juan Rulfo

The short stories in this collection--and some of them are very short, telling of just one incident--do an amazing job of evoking the landscape and climate of the region of Mexico described. It sounds like desert (more specifically, it sounds like the Colorado Desert in CA/AZ, which extends into Mexico). One of the stories, though, implies that the area is south of Mexico City. The landscape/climate is a character unto itself, and is so similar between the stories.

The main characters are poor, struggling, and doing what they need to do to get by. The stories do not specify if they are largely of Indian descent, though the intro says so. Perhaps Mexicans reading the original Spanish can tell, whether by names used, jobs held, or other clues that I miss as an American reading in English.

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review 2015-12-06 00:29
The Story of My Teeth
The Story of My Teeth - Christina MacSweeney,Valeria Luiselli

A very odd little book. Reads as being annoyingly experimental.

And it is experimental, as the author explains in the afterword—she wrote it as a serial, for and with workers at a Jumex plant in Mexico (the actual setting of parts of the book). So, she wrote a section, they discussed it and were taped (unknown to them), she listened to the recordings and wrote the next installment. Which is interesting, but it would have been nice to know that at the start.

She also discusses her belief that a translation does not need to be exact, because that makes it awkward. So she readily admits the English version is not the same as the original Spanish version. The weird timeline at the end is not in the Spanish version at all, and was actually written by the translator.

So an interesting experiment. But one of the best books of 2015? No way.

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