Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Alejandra Olivo on The Iliac Crest for Remezcla.com:

This creepy feminist ghost story has it all: Hitchcockian body-doubles, the ghost of forgotten Mexican writer Amparo Davila, a lonely asylum by the sea, a slow descent into madness. Written as a response to the rising tide of femicide throughout Latin America, The Iliac Crest uses these horror-movie tropes to deal with topics of female erasure, violence, and borders. This book is unsettling and strange and so, so good.

Her selection of Best Books by Latin American and Latino Authors 2017 here


Monday, December 11, 2017


Scott Esposito published this interview in The Quarterly Conversation, issue 50: 

The impetus for this long-overdue interview was the publication of Sarah Booker’s recent English-language translation of Cristina Rivera Garza’s novel The Iliac Crest. The book, which is a sort of fable set near a sanitarium and involving gedner, illness, madness, and borders (all common themes of the author) can be read about here in great depth. I will only say that this remarkably resilient, interpretable, and eye-opening book was a wonderful excuse to converse with an admired, original, and like-minded writer. Throughout this interview Rivera Garza was kind, generous, and surprising, and were there more time in the world this conversation would have run to two or three times this length.

Scott Esposito: Your work has been noted for its feminist themes, as well those of flux, transformations, borders, illness, migration—all things that are present in The Iliac Crest. To start, can you tell us a little about what drew you toward this subject matter as your identity as a writer began to form toward the beginning of your career?
Cristina Rivera Garza: I am interested in borders, borders of all kind, geopolitical borders and conceptual borders, borders of gender and genre, borders between life and death. I spend most of my time thinking of ways to cross such borders. How come we are allowed, even invited at times, to walk over some of them, but are prevented from even approaching others? In what ways what we are or the way we look or behave allow us to come close to some and reach other borders? I was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, right on the other side of Brownsville, Texas, and have lived a good chunk of my life in between San Diego and Tijuana—one of the most dynamic borders of our contemporary world—so that may explain this fascination. And yet, there is something else. There is this originary out-of-placeness, if you will. My family has migrated both within and outside Mexico for generations now. I did learn from an early age that we were not from there (and there was everywhere). The eyes of a nomadic foreigner look at the world in skewed ways. You are more cautious and more irreverent at the same time. You become aware that your body, your mere presence, complicates things. This experience later became an aesthetics. I have realized lately that both in terms of content and form I am usually looking for that angle, that gaze I am fond of complicating things!

See the entire interview here



A review of The Iliac Crest by Sarah Coolidge in Quarterly Conversations, issue 50:

Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Iliac Crest is a novel riddled with holes, disappearances that have the effect of warping and obscuring the world its reader inhabits. If this book were to have a single guiding principle, it might be these words: “Disappearance is contagious. Everyone knows this.” The narrator’s confidence in this fact is a bit alarming, and may come as news to the reader. Is disappearance a physical illness and this book some kind of existential science fiction treatise? Well, yes and no.
It’s hard to assert definitively just what this book is, although what is clear is that, in Rivera Garza’s world, disappearances are not unconnected—they propagate through a chain reaction, through physical contact, as the narrator goes on to explain almost scientifically, as if we were dealing with an outbreak of the flu. In fact, disappearance in this book is often referred to in medical terms, as an “epidemic,” or else in political terms, as a “conspiracy.” Either way, the fact is that these disappearances are all connected, whether by microscopic bacteria, by the secret crimes committed by a police state, or by some other insidious means.
But what, exactly, does it mean to disappear in Cristina Rivera Garza’s novel? Disappearances occur in multiple forms, both as seemingly passive actions—a memory or piece of information the narrator has forgotten or failed to mention; a made-up language that has not been deciphered for us—and active ones—the deliberate silencing of women with morphine; mysterious cover-ups; a stolen manuscript; and of course death. Even the fact that the narrator left behind his previous life to move to this strange, isolated town to work for a sanatorium is a kind of disappearance, a conclusion that the narrator himself reaches: “I became aware, perhaps like never before, that this community formed around a handful of failing souls was, in fact, disappeared.”

Read entire review here