It’s that time of year again: birds are singing, grass is growing, and Cinco de Mayo has arrived to commemorate the unlikely Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla! And how better to celebrate this victory than to celebrate Mexico in literature? Try these titles for a taste of Mexican culture, setting, and heritage.
Mexico by James Michener
The King of Epics turns his pen to Mexico, covering 1,500 years of history. As a journalist delves into the story of two rival matadors, he discovers the deep dichotomies in Mexican life. From Spanish and Indian descendants to prehistoric and modern religious edifices and even the strain between Mexico and the U.S., this book celebrates the complexities of Mexican society and culture.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Full of political commentary, this popular book by a bestselling author follows Harrison William Shepard, who moves between the U.S. and Mexico in his support for communism. With cameos by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera!
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
Teresita, sixteen and already gifted in the medicinal arts, rises from the dead with the supernatural power to heal. Declared the “Saint of Cabora” despite the Catholic Church declaring her a heretic, she quickly becomes caught up in the Mexican Civil War. Can her powers heal a nation from the wounds of war, genocide, and prejudice?
The House of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake
When a wedding party is kidnapped in Mexico City, El Galâan, the perpetrator, demands a ransom of $5 million U.S. dollars, to be paid within 24 hours. But whether or not the gangster gets his cash, the wealthy family knows that the hostages will probably not survive. Enter Rudy and Frank: fixers with experience in crime on the U.S./Mexico border. This author’s work has been called “border noir!”