Finding Mexico’s Body and Soul in Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Memoir

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Irma Mireles explores the Barnes & Noble tent at the San Antonio Book Festival.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Irma Mireles explores the Barnes & Noble tent at the Fifth Annual San Antonio Book Festival in 2017.

For many of us Tejanos, Mexico is part and parcel of who we are. Each year the San Antonio Book Festival ups the ante and brings some of the best voices that reflect our culture, language, and literature. This year’s festival offers an array of literary nourishment for our Mexican body and soul. Here are a few highlights.

Dispatches from the Borderlands: The Human Face of Immigration (10 a.m. in the Auditorium)

Griest and Cantú start the festival with “dispatches from the U.S. borderlands.” These Latinx memoirists – Cantú a former border patrol agent and Griest a Chicana writer and activist – search for their ancestral connection to the border and in the process find themselves. A report from the epicenter that is not to be missed. 

The Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa (1:45 p.m. in the Latino Collection Resource Center)

A search of a different kind fuels John Gibler’s book I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us. It is “an oral history of the attacks against 43 student teachers of Ayotzinapa, Mexico” and their mysterious disappearance in 2014. Gibler follows a trail of theories: Were they killed? Were drug cartels involved? Was it a government cover-up? Are the students still alive?

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (2 p.m. at Geektown HQ)

Erika L. Sánchez was a 2017 National Book Award finalist for her young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. A page turner that centers on Julia who, unlike her late sister Olga, must find a way to show her grieving mother that she too suffers from her sister’s death. A millennial telenovela.  

When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting That Changed History (2:45 p.m. in the Festival Room)

Matthew Restall‘s When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting That Changed History asks a provocative question to whet our curiosity: “How was it that a motley bunch of Spanish adventurers never numbering 400 or so were able to defeat an Amerindian power on its home turf in the space of two years? History Redux, anyone?

Luis Alberto Urrea’s Broken Angels (3 p.m. in the EY Tent)

Luís Alberto Urrea writes the gamut – from novels to short stories to poetry and nonfiction. His latest novel, The House of Broken Angelsis the epic telling of one Mexican-American family. Urrea has said the book’s subtitle is “Go to Hell, Donald!” as it is a response to Donald Trump’s ongoing Mexico-bashing. One might compare him to John Steinbeck, but Urrea is his own sui generis visionary. This one may well win him the Pulitzer. Arriba!

 

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