cover image Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice

Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice

Cristina Rivera Garza. Hogarth, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-24409-8

In this gut-wrenching blend of memoir and reportage, Rivera Garza (No One Will See Me Cry), a Hispanic studies professor at the University of Houston, investigates her younger sister Liliana’s 1990 murder by an abusive ex-boyfriend, who remains at large. Placing her sister’s death in the context of the femicide crisis in Mexico, Rivera Garza interweaves startling facts and statistics (an average of 10 women are killed per day in Mexico) with lyrical meditations on her family life and Liliania’s efforts to break away from her obsessive high school boyfriend, Ángel González Ramos. Liliana’s oft-repeated desire not to be left alone haunts the narrative, as do Rivera Garza’s guilt and shame over her sister’s death. Documenting the meticulous detective work of recreating the years and months leading up to Liliana’s murder, Rivera Garcia interweaves case files and newspaper accounts with excerpts from Liliana’s teenage diary, where the early warning signs about Ángel appear. Thoughout, Rivera Garza laments how she and Liliana’s friends lacked “the insight, the language, that would allow us to identify the signs of danger,” and explores “how patriarchy deforms and hurts men, as much as it does women.” This piercing remembrance hits home. (Feb.)