Bowen, David, and Ascencio, Juan A. Pyramids of Glass. San Antonio: Corona Publishing Co., 1994. Two-dozen-odd stories that lead the reader along a month-long journey through the bedrooms, the barracks, the cafés, and streets of present-day Mexico.
Boyle, T. C. The Tortilla Curtain. New York: Penguin-Putnam 1996; paperback edition Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 1996. A chance intersection of the lives of two couples—one affluent and liberal Southern Californians, the other poor homeless illegal immigrants—forces all to come to grips with the real price of the American Dream.
De la Cruz, Sor Juana Inez. Poems, Protest, and a Dream. New York: Penguin, 1997. Masterful translation of collection of love and religious poems by the celebrated pioneer (1651–95) Mexican nun-feminist.
Doerr, Harriet. Consider This, Señor. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993. Four expatriates tough it out in a Mexican small town, adapting to the excesses—blazing sun, driving rain, vast, untrammeled landscapes—and interacting with the local folks while the local folks observe them, with a mixture of fascination and tolerance.
Fuentes, Carlos. Where the Air Is Clear. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1971. The seminal work of Mexico’s celebrated novelist.
Fuentes, Carlos. The Years with Laura Díaz. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. A panorama of Mexico from Independence to the 21st century, through the eyes of one woman, Laura Díaz, and her great-grandson, the author. One reviewer said that she “ . . . as a Mexican woman, would like to celebrate Carlos Fuentes; it is worthy of applause that a man who has seen, observed, analyzed, and criticized the great occurrences of the century now has a woman, Laura Díaz, speak for him.” Translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Jennings, Gary. Aztec. New York: Forge Books, 1997. Beautifully researched and written monumental tale of lust, compassion, love, and death in preconquest Mexico.
Nickles, Sara, ed. Escape to Mexico. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002. A carefully selected anthology of 20-odd stories of Mexico by renowned authors, from Steven Crane and W. Somerset Maugham to Anaïs Nin and David Lida, who all found inspiration, refuge, adventure, and much more in Mexico.
Peters, Daniel. The Luck of Huemac. New York: Random House, 1981. An Aztec noble family’s tale of war, famine, sorcery, heroism, treachery, love, and finally disaster and death in the Valley of Mexico.
Rulfo, Juan. The Burning Plain. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967. A celebrated Guadalajara author tells stories of people torn between the old and new in Mexico.
Rulfo, Juan. Pedro Páramo. New York: Grove Press, 1994. Rulfo’s acknowledged masterpiece, originally published in 1955, established his renown. The author, thinly disguised as the protagonist, Juan Preciado, fulfills his mother’s dying request by returning to his shadowy Jalisco hometown, Comala, in search of this father. Although Preciado discovers that his father, Pedro Páramo (whose surname implies “wasteland”), is long dead, Preciado’s search resurrects his father’s restless spirit, which recounts its horrific life tale of massacre, rape, and incest.
Traven, B. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. New York: Hill and Wang, 1967. Campesinos, federales, gringos, and indígenas all figure in this modern morality tale set in Mexico’s rugged outback. The most famous of the mysterious author’s many novels of oppression and justice set in Mexico’s jungles.
Villaseñor, Victor. Rain of Gold. New York: Delta Books (Bantam, Doubleday, and Dell), 1991. The moving, best-selling epic of the author’s family’s gritty travails. From humble rural beginnings in the Copper Canyon, they flee revolution and certain death, struggling through parched northern deserts to sprawling border refugee camps. From there they migrate to relative safety and an eventual modicum of happiness in Southern California.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition