Hurricanes and Carnivals

Essays by Chicanos, Pochos, Pachucos, Mexicanos, and Expatriates

Edited by Lee Gutkind

''In Mexico,'' writes Ilan Stavans in the introduction to this provocative new collection, ''[the essay] is embraced as passionately as a sport.'' While the American essay may be personal and confessional or erudite and academic, it is presumed to be truthful. By contrast, the Mexican essay pushes the boundaries between fact and fiction as writers seek to make their opinions heard in literary journals, in newspapers, and even on cereal boxes. ''What is real and what isn't in a Mexican essay, only God knows,'' concludes Stavans.

Although creative nonfiction is widely thought to be an American art form, this collection proves otherwise. By blending fact and fiction, story and fantasy, history and mythology, these writers and others push the limits of the essay to present a vision of Mexico rarely seen from this side of the border. For readers interested in a literary view of contemporary Mexico, as well as students of the creative nonfiction genre, this volume is essential.

Table of Contents

Preface: On Crossing Borders Lee Gutkind
Introduction: Hurricanes and Carnivals Ilan Stavans
Group Photo: 100 Million Mexicans Juan Villoro
Héctor and the Beauty Queens (1998) Sam Quinones
Vigil in Tehuantepec Alberto Ruy Sanchez
Liberace's Sink Rigoberto Gonzalez
About the Egg Hugo Hiriart
The Woman Who Loved Water Kathleen Alcala
Of Sea Turtles: A Cautionary Tale Homero Aridjis
The Essential Francisco Sosa, or, Picadou's Mexico City C.M. Mayo
Sienna Revisited Sergio Pitol
Hotel de México Susan Briante
On Becoming a Book at Forty Ilan Stavans
Introduction from Here's To You, Jesusa! Elena Poniatowska
Tlilli, Tlapalli: The Path of the Red and Black Ink Gloria Anzaldúa
The Brown Study Richard Rodriguez
About the Contributors


Kathleen Alcala

Kathleen Alcala is the award-winning author of a short-story collection, Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist, and three novels set in 19th-... read more

Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa's book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, which combines Spanish and English poetry, memoir and historical analysis... read more

Homero Aridjis

Homero Aridjis is the author of Eyes to See Otherwise, a bilingual anthology of his poetry, and the prize-winning novel 1492: The Life and... read more

Susan Briante

Susan Briante is a poet and essayist who lives in Austin, Texas. read more

Rigoberto Gonzalez

Rigoberto Gonzalez has published three books: So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks, a selection of the National Poetry Series... read more

Hugo Hiriart

Hugo Hiriart was born in Mexico. He is the author of five novels, among them Galaor (1972) and La Destruccion de todas las coas [The... read more

C.M. Mayo

C.M. Mayo divides her time between Mexico City and Washington, D.C. Her books include Las Nuevas Finanzas en Mexico, Las Finanzas Populares... read more

Sergio Pitol

Sergio Pitol is the author of El tanido de una flauta [A Flute's Jingle] (1972), Nocturno en Bujara (1981), Juegos florales (1982), El... read more

Elena Poniatowska

Elena Poniatowska's works include Hasta no verte Jesús mío, Tinísima, a biography about Tina Modotti, the Italian photographer. Other books... read more

Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones is a journalist and author of two books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration. He is at work on his... read more

Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez is the author of Hunger of Memory, Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father and Brown: The Last Discovery... read more

Alberto Ruy Sanchez

Alberto Ruy Sanchez is the author of Los nombres del air (1987), translated into English in 1992 as Mogador, as well as Los jardines... read more

Ilan Stavans

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include The Hispanic... read more

Juan Villoro

Juan Villoro was born in Mexico in 1956. He is the recipient of the Premio Xavier Villaurrutia for his volume of stories, La casa pierde [... read more