Battles in the Desert (40th Anniversary Edition)

Battles in the Desert (40th Anniversary Edition)


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This heart-breaking novella is a key work of 20th-century dystopian Mexican literature and sadly all too apropos today

This landmark novella—one of the central texts of Mexican literature, is eerily relevant to our current dark times—offers a child’s-eye view of a society beset by dictators, disease, and natural disasters, set in “the year of polio, foot-and-mouth disease, floods.” A middle-class boy grows up in a world of children aping adults (mock wars at recess pit Arabs against Jews), where a child’s left to ponder “how many evils and catastrophes we have yet to witness.” When Carlos laments the cruelty and corruption, the evils of a vicious class system, his older brother answers: “So what, we are living up to our ears in shit anyway under Miguel Alemán’s regime,” with “the face of El Senor Presidente everywhere: incessant, private abuse.” Sound familiar?
      Woven into this coming-of-age saga is the terribly intense love Carlos cherishes for his friend’s young mother, which has the effect of driving the general cruelties further under the reader’s skin. The acclaimed translator Katherine Silver has greatly revised her original translation, enlivening afresh this remarkable work.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811230957
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 503,895
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

José Emilio Pacheco (1939-2014) is one of Mexico’s foremost poets, novelists, and essayists. A lifelong resident of Mexico City, Pacheco has been a guest lecturer throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain. Some of Pacheco’s best known collections of poetry include Miro la tierra (which documented the Mexico City earthquake), El reposo del fuegoFin de siglo y otros poemasArbol entere dos muros/Tree between two walls, and Selected Poems. His No me preguntas cómo pasa el tiempo was awarded Mexico’s National Poetry Prize.

Katherine Silver's award-winning translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Daniel Sada, César Aira, Julio Cortázar, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro. The author of Echo Under Story, she does volunteer interpreting for asylum seekers.

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