Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic

Edited by Eduardo Jiménez Mayo and Chris N. Brown, intro. by Bruce Sterling. Small Beer (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-931520-31-7
By turns creepy, self-consciously literary, and engagingly inventive, these 34 stories selected by translator-scholar Jiménez Mayo and writer-critic Brown offer some excellent and ghastly surprises. Entanglements with characters who aren’t entirely human and may well be dead provide one intriguing theme; in Agustín Cadena’s “Murillo Park” a middle-aged narrator befriends a strangely anachronistic older widow who goes by Jorge outside his office on his lunch hour, but recognizes to his sorrow that she belongs to a lost world of vanished clubs and hotels. Supernatural forces, in “Lions” by Bernardo Fernández and in “Wolves” by José Luis Zárate, sweep down upon the human realm like a pernicious plague. Several of the tales envision a marvelously collapsed dystopia where anarchy and violence reign, such as in Liliana V. Blum’s “Pink Lemonade,” where a “Somalization” of the world leaves the survivors fighting each other for food. “Wittgenstein’s Umbrella” by Óscar de la Borbolla cleverly supposes the death of the second-person narrator, while Pepe Rojo’s “The President Without Organs” is a grisly sendup of the national preoccupation with the president’s physical health. These are punchy, ghoulish selections by south-of-the-border writers unafraid of the dark. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Open Ebook - 300 pages - 978-1-931520-37-9
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