This uneven but useful compilation, published as a special issue of TriQuarterly magazine, introduces English-speaking readers to more than 50 Mexican writers, most born after 1945: the generation most affected by the violence of 1968. This was the year that ``divided contemporary Mexico from its past,'' Gibbons Five Pears or Peaches writes. From as many different perspectives as there are contributors, these pieces respond to the question: ``What is Mexican?'' Monica Mansour writes, ``there are those lovers who appear / when there's no time for anything but hating / like that day in '68 / when a strange man put his hand / into the deepest part of me.'' The women here frequently couch nationalism in terms of love. There are missing persons, but from this Mexican perspective they are persons involved in a love triangle, not victims of governments. This is a country where, as in Jesus Gardea's story, it seems natural for men to go out searching for a valuable guitar while flies battle with the one person at home for the last pieces of food. The majority of contributors have not previously been translated. Illustrations not seen by PW. Dec.
Published simultaneously as a book and as a special issue of the journal TriQuarterly Vol. 85, Fall 1992, this is an exciting anthology of contemporary Mexican prose and poetry in translation. The book, which is illustrated by 13 graphic artists, represents the work of 57 young writers all born since 1945. The themes and motifs include feminism, politics, influences from north of the border, and provincial and city life; all the writers explore their perceptions of Mexico's cultural ambiguities. Maria Luisa Puga's ``From the Hidden Language,'' about the world of Mexican publishing, readership, and literary education, gives focus to the fiction of writers such as Angeles Mascretta and Enrique Serna and to the poetry of Veronica Volkow, Jose Luis Revas, and others. Most of these writers will be new to readers who do not read Mexican literature in Spanish. Even libraries currently subscribing to TriQuarterly should consider adding this to their Latin American literature collections.-- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
"New Writing from Mexico" is a wonderful and timely anthology. Gibbons has gathered 58 of Mexico's most talented writers, and they are as different and diverse as their nation. From Carmen Lenero's intriguing, experimental prose poems to Dante Medina's more traditional "Forget Uruapan, Hermano"--a funny detective story in which an everyday tragedy of love is never fully solved--no two writers can be said to be alike. Then there is the compelling "Brine" by Carlos Chimal, a story told from a feline perspective. As for poetry, Manuel Ulacia stands out with his "The Stone at the Bottom," a powerful piece about the death of a father that resonates long after it's read. One can only hope that Ulacia as well as the other writers gathered here will one day find their way onto more shelves in this country. In asking the question "What is Mexican?" and with the talented help of many translators, Gibbons has contributed a great deal to the understanding of Mexico.