The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
A delicate coming-of-age story that is both elegiac and an ode to craftwork, womanhood, and friendship. Much like the characters in Cross-Stitch, Barrera and translator MacSweeny have yet again come together to craft another gift to treasure. One of my favorite reads of the year.
Cross-Stitch by Jazmina Barrera, (List Price: $24, Two Lines Press, 9781949641530, November 2023)
Reviewed by Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia
Witches, by Mexican writer Brenda Lozano, features quite possibly the most distinctive voice I’ve come across in fiction this year. Feliciana’s narrative, recounting her life as an indigenous healer – or curandera – is hypnotic, elliptical and utterly absorbing. Her story intertwines with that of Zoe, a journalist from Mexico City sent to report on the death of Paloma, Feliciana’s muxe – or third gender – cousin. Their stories combine to highlight the struggles of women striving to be true to themselves and to find their own voices.
Witches by Brenda Lozano, (List Price: $26, Catapult, 9781646220687, August 2022)
Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
A feral parable on the violence of racism, misandry, and class from a preeminent, new voice of contemporary Mexican literature. Melchor’s style in Paradais is writhing and slippery, capturing not only a portrait of desperation but the ugliness of the toxic thread that runs through the underside of our collective psyche.
Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, (List Price: $19.95, New Directions, 9780811231329, April 2022)
Reviewed by Luis Correa from Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia
How do mosquitoes communicate? What does their society look like– and how would they view ours? “Wise Owl,” thus dubbed by the indigenous tribe he lives with in the Mexican jungle, is a misanthrope disgusted with society at large. When he figures out the language of the mosquitoes, Mosquil, Wise Owl hatches a plan to take ultimate revenge on human civilization. Heavy themes of faith, modernity, free will, and meaning are filtered through an ecological sci-fi sieve. Vonnegut’s Galapagos meets the Island of Dr. Moreau, with even more merited cynicism.
His Name was Death by Rafael Bernal, (List Price: $15.95, New Directions, 9780811230834, November 2021)
Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi