cover image New and Selected Stories

New and Selected Stories

Cristina Rivera Garza, trans. from the Spanish by Sarah Booker, Lisa Dillman, et al. Dorothy, $16 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-948980-09-8

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.)