jueves, 11 de febrero de 2016

Mexicanos perdidos en México (2016)

With some of my other reading plans for 2016 either already in progress (at least in my head) or set for later in the year, now seems as good a time as any to solicit your company for Mexicanos perdidos en México [Mexicans Lost in Mexico] (2016)--a Mexican history and literature binge reading event set to take place between now and May 15th.  Interested in joining me?  Unlike those stupid reading challenges you can read about elsewhere, all you have to do to participate in this event--not a challenge--is to read & write about one or more pieces of Mexican fiction/nonfiction/etc. during the duration of the event and then let me know about it so I can link to your reviews at the end of each month.  Again unlike a reading challenge, there are no silly levels of participation for this extravaganza: you're either in or you're out--i.e. a Mexican or a gringo if you will!  A few orders of business.  For everything except nonfiction, only Mexican authors qualify--no books set in Mexico but written by non-Mexicans.  Two notable exceptions: Roberto Bolaño's Los detectives salvajes [The Savage Detectives] and 2666, truly Mexican novels to my way of thinking, will both count since Bolaño actually lived in Mexico for many years and Los detectives salvajes supplied the name for this event (i.e I ripped it off in a moment of kleptomaniacal inspiration).  For nonfiction, any book about Mexico or Mexicans will count.  Why Mexico?  Why not?  For me, though, the main reasons I'm looking forward to this is that a) there are an awful lot of "new" Mexican writers--Álvaro Enrigue, Valeria Luiselli, and Tryno Maldonado among others (photo below and at the top of the blog)--that I'm looking forward to sampling as well as the "old" favorites that I'd like to return to and b) I'd also really like to get to Daniel Sada's 1999 Porque parece mentira la verdad nunca se sabe this year.  Anyway, it'd be great to have your company.  Failing that, it'd be almost as cool to have your recommendation re: the last great book from/on Mexico that you've read (mine: Yuri Herrera's Señales que precederán al fin del mundo [Signs Preceding the End of the World]).

 Álvaro Enrigue, Valeria Luiselli & Tryno Maldonado--they look like a rockabilly band!
(photo: Daniel Mordzinski)

Other Readers

23 comentarios:

  1. This is surprisingly difficult for me. I don't have an eligible title except for an obscure book. I'll go look at an anthology. I'm sure there's a Mexican piece there. Currently on self-regimented book buying mode.

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    1. I won't count you in until you get a chance to try your luck with an anthology or two, Rise, but it'd be great to have your company. Fortunately or not, I have some titles for this event that I've been hoarding since before 2010. Talk about the need for a book-buying ban!

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  2. The last great Mexican book I read is the one I would read for for the Challenge if I had not recently read it - Mariano Azuela's Underdogs (1915).

    Maybe I should read Juan Rulfo.

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    1. It would be great to have your company for a Rulfo or whatever, Tom, but let me add that Rulfo is so, so good. I should go ahead and reread Pedro Páramo one of these days. Didn't know that you had read that Mariano Azuela novel. I have fond memories of it, but I remember it being pretty strong stuff in places.

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    2. I just got a copy of Pedro Páramo, so apparently I'm in, un gringo no mas.

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    3. Ha ha. Great book. Glad to have your company, Scott!

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  3. Great, I've got lots of Mexican books lying about by writers no one's ever heard of, and maybe I can summon the interest in finally finishing del Paso's News from the Empire. Mexican literature always strikes me as particularly unfairly neglected, even within Latin American literature - at least, from an Anglophone point of view. I remember reading an essay once which suggested the reason why Mexican literature didn't do so well outside Mexico was that it was very much obsessed with Mexico (just as US lit is meant to be obsessed with the US, but in the case of the US, there is such saturation that outsiders don't feel any cultural barrier); - but maybe all countries feel this.

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    1. "Mexican books lying about by writers no one's ever heard of"? You're singing my song now, Obooki! I don't know the reason for the general neglect of Mexican literature in translation that you touch on, but I tend to agree with you on that count with the caveat that a few younger writers like Valeria Luiselli seem to be getting a lot of attention of late on some of the blogs I follow. Anyway, very much looking forward to your choices.

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  4. Well okay then, sure. I have at least three Mexican works sitting unread on my shelves at this moment, so this provides a good reason to get to them. Not among them, but I'd rather like to get to Alfonso Reyes one of these days. Why is so little of his work available in English?

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    1. Your Alfonso Reyes question also mystifies me, Scott, but I think it might have something to do with his genre choices and his forerunner status. Two wild guesses. Very glad to hear you're in for this, though, and I look forward to seeing which of those three-plus eligible titles makes your cut.

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  5. This sounds like fun Richard but as I still haven't managed to finish any of my 'Doom' posts I'm not promising anything, although I read The Plain in Flames and it deserves a post...

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    1. It'd be cool to have you join us, Séamus, but I get it, no pressure/worries. I would be interested in hearing if you enjoyed Rulfo's short stories as much as Pedro Páramo, though. Both works are such a fine complement to each other, no? Cheers!

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  6. So if Bolaño counts, does Under the Volcano, the most Mexican English novel?

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    1. I'd make an exception for Under the Volcano for a couple of reasons, the principal one being that Lowry also lived in Mexico for a while. My second reason is a little more ethically suspect--I've yet to read the novel even though I've been meaning to for about the last half dozen years! Do you recommend it?

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  7. Yes, I certainly recommend Under the Volcano - a brilliant book and certainly more Mexican than English. And, as you kindly mentioned my blog post, sign me up as a perdido - Ibargüengoitia for me, once I have finished my Japanese thing.

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    1. Awesome, glad to have you join us! Will list you as TMN unless you care to relinquish your anonymity with a first name. I hope to get to Ibargüengoitia some day, so I'll look forward to seeing which one by him you review. Thanks, too, for recommending Under the Volcano so strongly; I really should try to get to that this year. Cheers!

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    2. Sorry. should have answered earlier. My first name is John.

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    3. No worries! Will update you in a second, John. Cheers!

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  8. I think I'll have to pass on this one, Richard. Would you believe I have nothing from Mexico on my 'to be read' shelves! Plenty of books from Spain and a few from South America, but nothing from Mexico. Oh, well...I'll have to wait for Spanish Lit Month in July (assuming that's happening this year).

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    1. No worries, Jacqui, but "shame on you" for not stockpiling multiple Mexican titles in unwitting anticipation of this event! I haven't talked to Stu yet about Spanish Lit Month this year, but it would be nice if we could all do that again. Thanks for the reminder. Cheers!

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  9. Links to review on Jorge Ibargüengoitia: Los relámpagos de agosto (The Lightning of August):
    http://www.themodernnovel.org/americas/latin-america/mexico/jorge-ibarguengoitia/the-lightning-of-august/
    Blog post: http://www.themodernnovelblog.com/2016/03/26/jorge-ibarguengoitia-los-relampagos-de-agosto-the-lightning-of-august/

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    1. Thanks, John--will happily incl. your review in the next links round-up!

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  10. And another Ibargüengoitia - Dos crímenes (Two Crimes) tis time.
    Blog: http://www.themodernnovelblog.com/2016/04/01/jorge-ibarguengoitia-dos-crimenes-two-crimes/
    Website: http://www.themodernnovel.org/americas/latin-america/mexico/jorge-ibarguengoitia/two-crimes/

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