Announcing the Brazos Book Club Summer of Latin American Literature

When the nominees for the International Booker Prize for translated fiction were announced last month, a second Latin American boom was declared. The first boom came in the 1960’s and 1970’s on the crest of Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa. This year over one quarter of the finalists were South American Writers, but this time women led the charge both as writers and translators. Join Brazos Book Club all summer as we dive into the language and style emerging from this exciting Latin second wave. 


On June 19th, we’ll delve into Claudia Piñeiro’s Elena Knows. Winner of  numerous national and international prizes, including the Pepe Carvalho Prize and the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize, Piñeiro is the third most translated Argentinean author after Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar. 

After Rita is found dead in a church she used to attend, the official investigation into the incident is quickly closed. Her sickly mother is the only person determined to find the culprit. Chronicling a difficult journey across the suburbs of the city, an old debt and a revealing conversation, Elena Knows unravels the secrets of its characters and the hidden facets of authoritarianism and hypocrisy in our society.


On July 17th we’re reading and discussing Not A River by Selva Almada,  author of BrickmakersDead Girls, and The Wind That Lays Waste. She is considered one of the most potent literary voices in Argentina and Latin America. A deft translator of a dozen books from Spanish and Portuguese, Annie McDermott has won the Premio Valle Inclán and her translation of Almada’s Brickmakers was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.

 In this novella the killing of a stingray sets off a series of fateful events along an unnamed South American river.  As uneasy and saturated as a prophetic dream, Not a River is an extraordinary novel about masculinity, guilt, and irrepressible desire, written in a style spare and timeless. 


Writer, editor and translator Diego Gerard Morrison explores themes of Magical Realism and appropriation in the context of the Mexican drug war. He’s the author of The Wait and Myth of Pterugium, winner of the Rising Prize in Fiction. On August 21st, we’ll read the just published Pages of Mourning,  a pioneering and inventive novel that confronts family history, creativity, Magical Realism, and the impact of violence from Mexico's drug war. 


Brazos Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of the month at Brazos at 6:30 p.m. and is open and ever-expanding with new readers creating a lively conversation around books and ideas. Join us as we discover this exciting new wave of Latin American literature and authors!

Elena Knows By Claudia Piñeiro, Frances Riddle (Translator) Cover Image
By Claudia Piñeiro, Frances Riddle (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781999368432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Charco Press - July 13th, 2021

SHORTLISTED for the International Booker Prize 2022

After Rita is found dead in a church she used to attend, the official investigation into the incident is quickly closed. Her sickly mother is the only person still determined to find the culprit. Chronicling a difficult journey across the suburbs of the city, an old debt and a revealing conversation, Elena Knows unravels the secrets of its characters and the hidden facets of authoritarianism and hypocrisy in our society.


Not a River: A Novel By Selva Almada Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644452851
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - May 7th, 2024

* SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2024 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE *

It’s not a river, it’s this river.

A hot, motionless afternoon. Enero and El Negro are fishing with Tilo, their dead friend’s teenage son. After hours of struggling with a hooked stingray, Enero aims his revolver into the water and shoots it. They hang the ray’s enormous corpse from a tree at their campsite and let it go to rot, drawing the attention of some local islanders and igniting a long-simmering fury toward outsiders and their carelessness. It’s only the two sisters—the teenage nieces of one of the locals, Aguirre—with their hair black as cowbird feathers and giving off the scent of green grass, who are curious about the trio and invite them to a dance. But the girls are not quite as they seem. As night approaches and tensions rise, Enero and El Negro return to the charged memories of their friend who years ago drowned in this same river.

As uneasy and saturated as a prophetic dream, Not a River is another extraordinary novel by Selva Almada about masculinity, guilt, and irrepressible desire, written in a style that is spare and timeless.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Selva Almada is the author of BrickmakersDead Girls, and The Wind That Lays Waste. She is considered one of the most potent literary voices in Argentina and Latin America.

Annie McDermott is the translator of a dozen books from Spanish and Portuguese. She was awarded the Premio Valle Inclán and her translation of Brickmakers by Selva Almada was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.


Pages of Mourning By Diego Gerard Morrison Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781953387400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - May 7th, 2024

Pages of Mourning is a stunning achievement, a pioneering and inventive novel that confronts family history, creativity, Magical Realism, and the impact of violence from Mexico's drug war, by a magnificent new talent in Diego Gerard Morrison.

 

It's 2017 and the crisis of forced disappearances has reached a tipping point after 43 docent students disappeared and are feared dead. Aureliano M's the Second is a fledgling writer at a lucrative fellowship in Mexico City chaired by his aunt, Rose. When Aureliano was very young, his mother left without reason or trace. Aureliano is attempting to write a novel that mirrors his mother's unexplained disappearance while shattering Magical Realism as a genre in the process. It doesn't help though, that he's named after the protagonist of a touchstone of the Magical Realist canon, and raised in the mythical town of Comala.

 

Aureliano searches for insight and closure from his father and from Rose, who grappled with his mother's disappearance through a failed novel of her own. Their stories lead back to the 1980's and the burgeoning drug trade, as Rose and Aureliano's mother journey as young runaways throughout the Mexican countryside. Meanwhile, Aureliano's addictions and the overwhelming burden of the past threaten his tenuous position at the fellowship, just as a deadly earthquake strikes Mexico City on the exact same date as a legendary earthquake struck in 1985.

 

Pages of Mourning is a daring, captivating, darkly funny novel that grapples with uncertainty and loss in a land of violence and superstition, while questioning whether Magical Realism as a genre is capable of confronting the brutal dissonance of a country that awaits the return of the missing while not wholly acknowledging their death. Monumental, lyrical, and engrossing, Pages of Mourning is a towering accomplishment by one of the most exciting new writers at work today.


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