Take note: there’s more to Mexican literature than Carlos Fuentes. In recent years, Mexico has experienced a dramatic literary boom, with a host of new writers offering a new literary voice for the country. Along with this is a generation of talented Mexican-American writers such as Francisco Cantú and Luís Alberto Urrea, who provide a fascinating and timely insight into the cross-border experience. Here’s a rundown of Mexican books to read in 2018.
’68: The Mexican Autumn of the Tlatelolco Massacre, Paco Ignacio Taibo II
It will be 50 years since the Tlatelolco Massacre took place on October 2nd when at least 200 student activists were gunned down by government forces during a protest ahead of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. To mark the grim anniversary, Mexican literary star Paco Ignacio Taibo II, who was part of the crowd that night, is publishing his account of events. Written in a piercing, provocative style, Taibo gives life to “the many unredeemed and sleepless ghosts that live in our lands.”
Released on August 7, 2018
Name of the Dog, Élmer Mendoza
Born and raised in the drug crime-plagued state of Culiacán, Élmer Mendoza is a leading figure in the narco-literature genre. Many of his novels, including the upcoming Name of the Dog, center on detective Edgar “Lefty” Mendieta. In this latest installment in the series, the detective meets a son he knew nothing about—only to discover that he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps—just as the region descends into drug war chaos.
Released on July 10, 2018
After the Winter, Guadalupe Nettel
Named in 2007 as one of the Bogotá 39, a list of the most talented young Latin American writers, Nettel has already published several acclaimed novels. Her upcoming offering, After the Winter, tells the story of Cecilia, a Mexican living in Paris who becomes obsessed with watching funerals in the cemetery outside her apartment.
When she meets Claudio, a demanding misogynist, their two lives collides, with lasting consequences.
Released on March 8, 2018
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, Francisco Cantú
This eagerly anticipated memoir from Francisco Cantú emerges amid the chaos of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration rhetoric. Cantú has a unique viewpoint; as the son of a Mexican immigrant mother, he worked as a United States border patrol agent, policing southern Arizona. In this haunting account of life and death at the border, Cantú invites us to reconsider the physical, political and social walls that divide us.
Released on February 6, 2018
The House of Broken Angels, Luís Alberto Urrea
Luís Alberto Urrea, born in Tijuana and now based in the U.S., has a string of bestsellers to his name and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 2005 non-fiction book, The Devil’s Highway. His upcoming novel, The House of Broken Angels, is a family saga centering on Big Angel, who must bury his mother while he is dying himself. The powerfully rendered central protagonist is based on Urrea’s older brother, who died a month after their mother’s funeral.
It’s a tragic yet amusing family epic that reflects on the nature and importance of our bonds.
“All we do, mija, is love,” says Big Angel. “Love is the answer. Nothing stops it. Not borders. Not death.”
Released on March 6, 2018