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March 2012

The Mexican Drug War

Image: STRINGER Mexico / Reuters, A soldier stands guard inside a storage room at a clandestine drug processing laboratory in Tlajomulco de Zuniga

Guest Editor Carmen Boullosa,

What is it like to grow up in a country where the only safe place you can gather with friends is in your own home? How do you raise a family when going to the supermarket is fraught with the danger of being kidnapped?  This is the situation in Mexico, where the drug wars have transformed the country into a living hell. Guest editor Carmen Boullosa has assembled compelling essays, interviews, fiction, and poetry from Mexican writers on the impact of this bloody conflict. In their eyewitness reports, Luis Felipe Fabre, Rafael Perez Gay, Yuri Herrera, Rafael Lemus, Fabrizio Mejia Madrid, Hector de Mauleon, Magali Tercero, Jorge Volpi, and Juan Villoro document the crisis and demand the world's attention.   

From the other side of the world, we present poetry commemorating last year's Japanese earthquake, and launch a new serial about an unexpected pig.

A Report from Hell

The newspapers report daily on collective graves, on bullets raining down in bars, drug rehab centers, city streets, at school gates, and in churches.


Violence and Drug-Trafficking in Mexico

In Mexico, people will pay up to $70,000 dollars for a license to hunt and kill a bighorn sheep. Killing a man is much cheaper.


The Way to Juarez

Every street corner in Juarez harbors the story of a murder


The Mystery of the Parakeet, the Rooster, and the Nanny Goat

The parakeet is cocaine, the rooster is the marijuana and the nanny goat is an AK-47 assault rifle.


Death Count

This is the shield we use to protect ourselves: with so many people involved, I’m not going to be the first to act.


Notes on a Zombie Cataclysm

The authorities insist they are taking / appropriate steps / to control the plague of zombies


Tijuana: On the Pozole-Man’s Hill

He was like a butcher who says, "I don’t kill the cattle, I simply cut them up."


The History of the Present: Sergio González Rodríguez on the Mexican Literary World and the Drug War

The Mexican literary world is in crisis as it tries to face the history of the present.


Notes on the Violence in Sinaloa, Mexico

"Here, the killers protect us: they’re good people, they’re my friends."


The Politics of Mourning

This is the image that for some time has been occupying and saturating public debate in Mexico: an undefined, unspeakable heap of corpses.


The Heart’s Secret Moves

That was when Pedro went in, clamped his hand over the cop’s mouth, and got him in a neck lock.


Sleepless Homeland

In which junkie’s syringe did you become trapped, my Homeland?



Book Reviews

Friedrich Christian Delius’s “Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman”

Reviewed by Rosamund Hunter

Christian Delius confirms his facility with experimental form and skillfully creates a varied and textured experience for the reader

César Aira’s “Varamo”

Reviewed by Heather Cleary

What is it that we do, really, when we write? And why can’t a fish be embalmed to look like it’s playing a tiny piano?

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s “The Letter Killers Club”

Reviewed by Christopher Tauchen

To the members of the Letter Killers Club, letters of the alphabet are the prison cells of concepts, and they need to be destroyed.

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