cover image New and Selected Stories

New and Selected Stories

Cristina Rivera Garza, trans. from the Spanish by Sarah Booker, Lisa Dillman, et

This hypnotic, riveting collection of new and previously published stories from MacArthur Fellow Rivera Garza (Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, essays) takes on love, migration, and violence. The narrators of “Unknowing” and “The Day Juan Rulfo Died” wrestle with the fallout of short-lived relationships in Mexico City, a place imagined by Rivera Garza as a sprawling, often hostile metropolis. The dangers implicit in desire inform the murder investigations dramatized in “The Last Sign” and the stand-out “Simple Pleasure. Pure Pleasure.” Migration defines the life of the protagonist in “Nostalgia,” who lives more in the world of his dreams than in his waking life; as well as the woman of “Offside,” who makes a new life in a snowy town in an unnamed foreign country where she is stranded, only to find that her children with a local man are becoming strangers to her. A chronology of anthropology figures into “Autoethnography with the Other” (“1970–1980.... Mea culpa: anthropologists question their complicity with colonial processes”), a story of a mysterious stranger whose affair with the narrator endangers them both. The author successfully deploys a range of styles and forms, influenced by prose poetry, fables, and postmodern experiments. Throughout, she documents the ravages of the real world while establishing a refuge in literature: “I immediately calmed down when I repeated ‘nothing is real,’ ” narrates the protagonist of “The Survivor from Pripyat.” These unsettling yet deeply approachable stories ought to earn Rivera Garza the wider attention she deserves. (Apr.)