A story collection drawn from across her career brings into English for the first time the extraordinary stylistic and thematic range of the Mexican writer and MacArthur “genius” Cristina Rivera Garza.
“One of Mexico’s greatest living writers,” wrote Jonathan Lethem in 2018 about Cristina Rivera Garza, “we are just barely beginning to catch up to what she has to offer.” In the years since, Rivera Garza’s work has received widespread recognition: She was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for fiction that “interrogates culturally constructed notions of language, memory, and gender from a transnational perspective,” and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Yet we have still only started to discover the full range of a writer who is at once an incisive voice on migration, borders, and violence against women, as well as a high stylist in the manner of Lispector or Duras.
New and Selected Stories now brings together in English translation stories from across Rivera Garza’s career, drawing from three collections spanning over 30 years and including new writing not yet published in Spanish. It is a unique and remarkable body of work, and a window into the ever-evolving stylistic and thematic development of one of the boldest, most original and affecting writers in the world today.
This hypnotic, riveting collection of new and previously published stories from MacArthur Fellow Rivera Garza (Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, essays) takes on love, migration, and violence. The narrators of "Unknowing" and "The Day Juan Rulfo Died" wrestle with the fallout of short-lived relationships in Mexico City, a place imagined by Rivera Garza as a sprawling, often hostile metropolis. The dangers implicit in desire inform the murder investigations dramatized in "The Last Sign" and the stand-out "Simple Pleasure. Pure Pleasure." Migration defines the life of the protagonist in "Nostalgia," who lives more in the world of his dreams than in his waking life; as well as the woman of "Offside," who makes a new life in a snowy town in an unnamed foreign country where she is stranded, only to find that her children with a local man are becoming strangers to her. A chronology of anthropology figures into "Autoethnography with the Other" ("1970 1980.... Mea culpa: anthropologists question their complicity with colonial processes"), a story of a mysterious stranger whose affair with the narrator endangers them both. The author successfully deploys a range of styles and forms, influenced by prose poetry, fables, and postmodern experiments. Throughout, she documents the ravages of the real world while establishing a refuge in literature: "I immediately calmed down when I repeated nothing is real,' " narrates the protagonist of "The Survivor from Pripyat." These unsettling yet deeply approachable stories ought to earn Rivera Garza the wider attention she deserves.