Saturday, September 30, 2023

FEAR IS JUST A WORD: Book review

The New York Times published my review of Azam Ahmed's Fear is Just a Word: A Missing Daughter, a Violent Cartel, and a Mother's Quest for Vengeance, September 26, 2023. 

"Drawing on four years of meticulous archival and field research, as well as countless interviews, scholarly works and his own journalism, Ahmed, a former Mexico bureau chief (and current investigative correspondent) for The New York Times, lifts the veil on daily life in a war-torn zone. While people employ the phrase “war on drugs” to mean an effort to combat illegal trafficking, or, worse, as a euphemism for state-sanctioned violence, Ahmed sets out to prove that in Mexico cartels have behaved as occupying armies on newly gained territory, governing by force and submitting local communities to increasingly spectacular acts of cruelty. The so-called war on drugs shows its truest face here: as a war against the civilian population. Ahmed’s book is a study of how such a war touches every aspect of social life, tearing it to pieces, and how the impunity with which cartels operate perpetuates a never-ending cycle of evil."

Full article here.  


Tuesday, September 19, 2023




Two Longlisted titles collect, inspect, and make meaning of documents of the past to imagine new futures. Ordinary Notes gathers personal and public artifacts that cover everything from history, art, photography, and literature, to beauty, memory, and language. Across 248 notes, Christina Sharpe examines the legacy of white supremacy and slavery, crowdsources entries for a “Dictionary of Untranslatable Blackness,” and presents a kaleidoscopic narrative that celebrates the Black American experience. Inspired by global feminist movements, Cristina Rivera Garza travels to Mexico City to recover her sister’s unresolved case file nearly 30 years after she was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. Drawing on police reports, notebooks, handwritten letters, and interviews from those who were closest to her, Rivera Garza preserves her sister’s legacy and examines how violence against women affects everyone, regardless of gender, in Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice.

Read full article here.