cover image Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico

Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico

Tony Cohan, . . Broadway, $24.95 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-2090-2

Novelist and memoirist Cohan takes on a travel magazine assignment to make "some trips around Mexico... see how the puzzle of old and new fit together [and] write about it." Traveling south from his San Miguel home, he passes through Vera Cruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas into the Yucatán. Readers familiar with the path may enjoy traveling with him; others will long for a minimal map, an organizing principle and some photographs. As Cohan drifts through Mexico, history (e.g., the founding of Tlacotalpan sometime between A.D. 900 and 1200) and contemporary events (e.g., the barricading of mountain roads by Zapatista insurgents) are revealed. Chats with taxistas and shopkeepers, visits with friends and artists, remarks about his own work and casual references to the famous among Mexico's tourist, exile and expatriate population dot the pages (John Huston gets four pages). Cohan's description of the book as "the Mexican postcard I'm always writing home" is accurate; but postcards work best for readers who can fill in the blanks with their own sense of where the writer is coming from. Perhaps readers of Cohan's previous, well-received account (On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel ) will be able to do so. (May 2)