Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Review of 'Metztli' by Juan Mireles

Book Review of Metztli by Juan Mireles

Xánath Caraza is an author who discovers the stories in places. In every one of her short stories, she invites us into her home, the home of her memories, of her travels; the food and traditions of a Mexico visited regularly by her stories to experience that which she never forgets: the scents and flavors that bring back to her the images, dialogues, stories, the love, that signify home.

In Metztli, we never forget that distance is only a brief pause, that this separation serves to reaffirm the author’s roots: a reason to always return, there is no other option, because the land beckons.

Kansas City is another home for Caraza, inhabited by other people, other names, other shadows that need to be heard, revealing their difficulties through stories: being outsiders in that country, that other America, as we see in the story “Citizenship.”

Metztli is also a diary in which several cities of the world are traveled (as in “Ascalapha Odorata”) to discover passion and the man, the lover, her lover, the one who is sought through experience, through writing. Love takes on a certain weightiness in several of the stories that make up this collection. This is love that never ends up being established but is, nevertheless, eternalized through the words, the poems, the texts written by the narrator.

Art and books gather significance in this collection; they are part of a moment, of an action. They serve to contextualize certain things, which is often welcome—art is always appreciated; it sustains us.

Music, poetry, theater, literature in general, they are all present in these stories, so much so that, in the story “Murmuring,” we are able to witness a particular interaction within the novel Pedro Páramo.

This bilingual edition, translated by Sandra Kingery and Kaitlyn Hipple, is the first book that Xánath Caraza (who has numerous books published in the United States and other parts of the world) is publishing in Mexico, thus achieving a connection with the Mexican reader who will, certainly, feel a closeness, not only with the people in Mexico, but also with the compatriots (Xánath herself) who are from the other side of the border, deciphering Mexico and its people, from a different perspective.

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