This investigation into state violence and mourning weaves together personal essay and literary theory, giving voice to the political experience of collective pain. Grieving is a hybrid collection of short crónicas, journalism, and personal essays on systemic violence in contemporary Mexico and along the US-Mexico border.
[A] lucid, poignant collection of essays and poetry ... The horror of countless public displays of mutilated, tortured bodies has rendered a terrified population into silence, their trauma too painful to articulate. But in this slim book, Rivera Garza tries to do just that, functioning as both a physician diagnosing the source of her country’s pain, and an archaeologist unearthing its layers and then artfully transforming the grief into words ... Rivera Garza’s focus never waivers ... Such weighty subject matter might sound like a heavy lift. But Rivera Garza’s essays leave the opposite impression. They are deeply hopeful, ultimately love letters to writing itself.
Across some 200 pages, Garza applies a lingual scalpel to the narrative of systemic violence ... Although Garza’s writing style is easy to enter into and become subsumed by, this collection should be read slowly in parts or sections and not devoured in one sitting (as I did) ... the stories she tells are often simply too painful to read: there needs to be time to stop, to read, to grieve, to repeat, to remember, to move on ... a powerful call to action.
...concise but weighty and timely ... Rivera Garza’s approach is spare and kaleidoscopic, offering a poet’s touch to the unspeakable. The effect can be distracting, jumping from one subject to the next (many of the 27 pieces are only a few pages long). Yet within the destruction and devastation that threads the book together, there are glimmers of hope.