RaveBooklistCleeton’s latest historical novel in her dazzling Cuba series, following The Last Train to Key West (2020), features another member of the Pérez family, Marina, and her struggles during the Spanish American War as she is disowned by her well-to-do family and separated from her beloved rebel husband ... With a splash of romance and a healthy helping of history, this novel will be a hit for all collections.
Quiara Alegría Hudes
PositiveBooklist... joyful and vibrant ... While her language is abundantly fluid and evocative, what the title evokes is a life lived between two languages and two cultures ... Delightful phrases and vivid images abound.
Juan Villoro, tr. Alfred MacAdam
PositiveBooklistVilloro applies his witty and incisive pen to the monster that is Mexico City ... Villoro’s voice is engaging, and the subject matter is fascinating. Unfortunately, the translation is clunky and over-literal, making some passages difficult to follow, but overall, this is an unusual and rewarding read for all who love or are intrigued by Mexico City.
RaveBooklistFigueroa’s curious and dazzling first novel features a family in which love has been tragically twisted by traumas old and new ... Figueroa’s omniscient, second-person narration creates an intimacy while the hypnotic rhythm of her prose and evocative mystical elements invoke an archetypal sense that is at once out-of-time and thoroughly contemporary as we grudgingly recognize our own precarious epoch.
RaveBooklist... formidable ... She lays out her personal and professional struggles and successes within a well-researched historical context, while also providing behind-the-scenes accounts of her groundbreaking and often traumatic work on 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and the creation of the Frontline report on the miseries of immigration detention camps, titled Lost in Detention. As far-ranging and politically illuminating as Hinojosa’s memoir becomes, it is also laser-focused and intimate, and at its heart are portrayals of immigrants, especially immigrant children. Although the situations of those children are dire and hope seems unrealistic, Hinojosa promises to keep telling their stories. A fascinating and essential journalist’s memoir.
RaveBooklist...at once profoundly personal and historically significant ... This mix of memoir and history is an essential chronicle, solidly researched and carefully sourced, and enriched with some poetry and plenty of hard-won wisdom.
RaveBooklistThe father of a young son, he disarmingly expresses his amazement at the lack of empathy shown by top officials in their zeal to deter immigrants and asylum-seekers. Ultimately, Soboroff focuses on the terrifying journey of a father and son fleeing violence in Guatemala, only to be separated and detained in freezing facilities akin to dog kennels. Each section begins with bureaucratic documents stating the grotesque and inane expectation that small children can wade through the complicated immigration process on their own. Supported by a time line and copious source notes, Soboroff’s thoroughly engaging exposé of the inner workings of a corrupt and unfeeling government is essential to understanding America’s current immigration misery.
Carlos Fonseca, Trans. by Megan McDowell
RaveBooklist... a literary tour de force impressively translated by McDowell ... Ultimately, Fonseca’s challenging and transcendent novel offers a prescient message about media fabrications and the unreliability of history.
Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schwietert Collazo
PositiveBooklist... straightforward and heartfelt ... Both narrators embody the power of determined women in this unfiltered story about human suffering, the inhumane asylum process, and the joy of organizing generous and well-intentioned people across faith traditions for the common good.
PositiveBooklistTapping into her Puerto Rican heritage and conducting plenty of research, Vera...presents a heartfelt depiction of once-proud coffee plantation hacendados...in very difficult times ... Progressing chronologically, the omniscient narrator seamlessly folds in Spanish words and phrases as well as epistolary interludes between Valentina and her sister, Elena. Vera\'s novel is historical fiction at its best, featuring engaging survivors from a forgotten past.
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
RaveBooklistBased on fieldwork from Ground Zero to Miami, solidly researched and footnoted, this chronicle is framed by [Villavicencio\'s] own family’s experience with immigration and the relationships that blossomed between her and her similarly undocumented subjects. This valuable and authentic inquiry is powerfully embellished with magical imaginings ... Villavicencio’s unfiltered and vulnerable voice incorporates both explosive profanity and elegiac incantations of despair ... She gives of herself unstintingly as she speaks with undocumented day laborers, older people working long past retirement age, and a housekeeper who relies on the botanica and voodoo for health care. Cornejo Villavicencio’s challenging and moving testimonio belongs in all collections.
Juli Delgado Lopera
RaveBooklistTropical fever, indeed! Award-winning Lopera presents a new and uniquely charming voice in this stream-of-consciousness novel ... As she narrates the story of her desperation and her awakening, Francisca’s voice is engaging and lyrical, effortlessly code-switching from English to Spanish in a completely natural way—often within the same sentence. Lopera’s internalized tale explores the complications of family, immigration, faith, and taboo love with fresh and compelling directness.
PositiveBooklistThe sisters’ dynamic relationships brim with a funny but genuine Latina exuberance flowing from deep-rooted love. As she grapples with the urge to turn her back on the needs of others and hunker down in her grief, Antonia’s inner voice is engaging, troubled, and ultimately, hopeful. A charming novel of immigration, loss, and love.
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
PositiveBooklistCastillo uses his prodigious poetic craft to plumb each family member’s odyssey through the U.S. immigration system and its Kafkaesque and labyrinthine illogic and to describe the raw emotion and pain experienced while battering against the cold shoulder of bureaucracy and living under a cloud of uncertainty and fear. In the tortured dynamic that plays out in his cross-border family, Castillo lays bare the inherent unfairness and high psychological toll of the current immigration system on people in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Marcial Gala, trans. by Anna Kushner
PositiveBooklistKushner’s nimble translation flows with flavor and intensity while telling a dark present-day story ... Gala’s raw, compelling, and highly readable novel lays bare a Cuba that, just like everywhere else, has not found an answer to human desperation, envy, or evil. For most literary fiction collections, especially those serving readers interested in contemporary Latin American fiction.
Paulina Flores, Trans. by Megan McDowell
PositiveBooklistMcDowell presents an agile translation ... With conflicts personal and communal in a land in the grip of tyranny, Flores dramatizes difficult situations that are vividly specific and resonantly universal.
Jorge Comensal, Trans. by Charlotte Whittle
RaveBooklist... a tale about cancer and impending death that slyly provokes more than a few guffaws ... Effortlessly elevating his tale to the rarefied heights of Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Ravel only to plunge the bawdy depths of the rawest profanity while peppering his narration with erudite discussions of the mysteries of genetics, Comensal has written a fearlessly irreverent and unexpectedly deep novel about a family’s blundering with the most atavistic of challenges.
Karina Sainz Borgo, Trans. By Elizabeth Bryer
PositiveBooklistBorgo’s beautiful prose belies the brutal reality of the breakdown in civil society she lays bare in this powerful literary look at strife-torn Venezuela.
PositiveBooklistIn Quiñonez’s beautiful and weird little novel, teenage Julio, of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent, navigates Spanish Harlem to help the young woman he’s obsessed with ... Quiñonez’s pitch-perfect portrayal, enlivened with elements of magic realism and reaching into the spirit world, weaves multiple layers and crisscrossing lines of generational, cultural, political, religious, and economic conflicts from the past and present, making Taína an enlightening and redeeming read.
RaveBooklistTheroux, with his impeccable portfolio of literary fiction and travelogues, valiantly ventures further South in a quest to gain a deeper understanding of the Mexican side of this fraught moment between our two countries ... Theroux mines every encounter for its uniquely human story, making friends with erudite and everyday people from those who make mezcal to those who make history. Artfully describing landscapes, he meticulously provides comprehensive historical context at every pueblo, monument, or church, creating a textured portrait of a beleaguered country. This is a personal book, and Theroux does not hesitate to articulate his point of view on a number of topics, allowing for no sacred cows as he unapologetically takes into consideration context, anecdotal evidence, and his on-the-road experiences to arrive at his prescription for improving the Mexican situation.
Orin Starn and Miguel La Serna
RaveBooklistThis vivid, gritty, sometimes gruesome, yet touching narrative history covers the complete spectrum of players and survivors, from humble Andean villagers to the illustrious Nobel laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa. This is an agile and meticulously researched book that contains fascinating revelations ... Starn and La Serna have created a timely reminder of the dangers of inflexible dogma and an important work that belongs in every collection.
Sofia Segovia, Trans. by Simon Bruni
RaveBooklistAcclaimed Mexican author Segovia’s first work translated into English is a gorgeous novel of family, friendship, land, and murderous envy, a tale reminiscent of Isabel Allende’s early works ... With the help of a gifted translator, Segovia skillfully envelops readers, fully engaging their senses and imagination in this wonderful novel.
RaveBooklistMoraga remembers her difficult mother in a memoir that transcends chronology and the personal ... Moraga’s determination to honor her mother while encouraging Mexican Americans to uncover and rescue their own forgotten legacies is a tour de force recommended for every collection.
RaveBooklist... a powerful oral history told in voices that pulse with terror, incredulity, and rage. In his own clear, powerful prose, Gibler places the tragic events in historical, political, and international context. On the final pages, he lists the names of the dead and the missing. This is an essential work of exacting, caring, and memorializing reportage.
RaveBooklist... another devastating but necessary book ... especially poignant in that this is a powerful reminder of the dreadful cost the use of torture entails, and of the U.S.’ role in perpetuating torture on the American continents. Gibler’s interviews with Tzompaxtle Tecpile provide the marrow for a carefully researched, meticulously constructed, and often excruciating narrative. While honoring Tzompaxtle Tecpile’s story, Gibler honors the reader’s intelligence, nimbly deconstructing the roots and the legacy of torture. This is an important look at the price exacted by the legitimatizing of state-sponsored violence and the concealment of the truth about such operations, and their disastrous consequences for everyone.
MixedBooklistIn often purple prose, Cleeton offers plenty of melodrama to ponder, and fans of the first novel will be thrilled.
RaveBooklistThroughout, Gibson gives full personhood to indigenous groups and tribes, placing their experiences in context, and she takes care to elucidate the evolving concept of race and the toxic trope of the U.S. as a white nation, an idea that stubbornly refuses to fade, resurfacing in our own divisive times. The chapter on Texas offers a key reminder that at one time Anglos themselves were illegal aliens, defiantly ignoring Mexico’s laws against slavery. Well-organized and containing useful maps, a time line, selected bibliography, and notes, Gibson’s exhaustively researched and well-written chronicle is an essential acquisition for all American history collections.
RaveBooklistGrande’s engaging and frank narrative flows painlessly, leaving no stones unturned as she recalls romantic missteps, complete with cringeworthy moments; the situations and inner struggle that led to her becoming a single mother; and the painful spectacle she was as a novice teacher in front of a class of ruthless eighth-graders. She carries off these scenes and the accompanying interior dialogues with humor and panache. Generous in her success, she gratefully acknowledges the support and motivation she found with teachers and mentors. Supported by lots of publicity, this will be in demand, and both of Grande’s memoirs are indispensable acquisitions for all libraries.
RaveBooklist...A self-described \'anchor baby,\' Solis shares his memories as a brown person on the border with a keen eye and an agile way with words, endowing these snapshots from his childhood in El Paso with the visceral gut punch of Mexican retablos, devotional paintings in vivid colors on metal or wood. Solis hones each scene with striking...imagery: his grandmother Mama Concha with her rollers, red lipstick, sagging hose, and purse \'fragrant with Wrigley’s Chewing Gum\'; the ghostly figure of a runner who threads his way through the book, aging as Solis ages, advancing under Solis’ curious gaze, then vanishing into a misty distance. In all, a evocative, and timely expression of border culture for every library collection.
Mary Jo McConahay
PositiveBooklistA lively history ... McConahay conducted solid research and writes with an unprejudiced eye, peppering her narrative with fascinating anecdotes about both ordinary people and celebrities ... Although the stories take place on a global stage, McConahay has followed their ripples to the personal level, the book’s most engaging feature ... offers a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on a pivotal time and place.
Jose Antonio Vargas
PositiveBooklistAlthough this book mimics a straightforward memoir, it is couched in questions vital for every reader’s consideration: Who \'deserves\' citizenship? Why is migration considered historically courageous for white people but a crime for people of color? ... Vargas’ frank and fearless voice thoughtfully and intentionally challenges readers to confront the call for action at the heart of this book: the urgent need for \'a new language around migration and the meaning of citizenship.\'
PositiveBooklistThe latest from the Dallas Morning News’ award-winning borderland correspondent is a breezy, expansive narrative that traces the Great Mexican Migration of the second half of the twentieth century ... As Corchado tells [his friends\' and family\'s] stories and as they all grapple with facts and feelings in their attempts to make sense of their lives as border-dwellers, Mexican immigrants, and descendants of immigrants, he also assesses the struggles of Mexico and the U.S., neighboring nations whose cultures are ineluctably intertwined, to coexist positively and peacefully.
Julián Herbert, Trans. by Christina MacSweeney
RaveBooklist\"...a literary tour de force that resembles a fever dream, with no clear line between what is invented or imagined, what is real, what misremembered, and what hallucinated ... Tomb Song is rich and rewarding for any mother’s son (or daughter) and will particularly resonate with those familiar with Mexican history and popular culture.\