In the no-man’s-land of Mexico’s far north-harsh desert landscapes, bruising border towns, urban wastelands and fantastical rural villages-migrants, campesinos and travelers find themselves lost between reality and delirium, tragedy and exaltation.
Ten stories with an unflinching gaze onto the fragility and brutality of life: a tabloid journalist tracks a pair of homeless lovers; a blackout extinguishes the lights of Monterrey, unleashing anxieties and criminal tendencies; a visiting teacher in a remote village witnesses a brutal incident of vigilante justice; a desperate young boy crosses the border in search of a father lost to the North.
While the United States and Mexico avert their eyes from the horrors oftheir shared border, Parra is ‘the desert’s Dante, ‘ as author Juan Felipe Herrera calls him on the book’s cover; he enters a place everyone is afraid to see and examines its cruelties. . . . Parra’s unflinching gore calls to mind those infamous Mexican murder magazines that publish graphic crime scene photos as entertainment. But the violence of No Man’s Land is far from exploitative. Parra’s compassion for the wretched, tortured creatures that populate the book is clear. Enduring every possible kind of suffering, they survive, and that mere survival is a triumph.–SF Station
Eduardo Antonio Parra’s short stories fill the void between traditional Latin American literature and the best new writing from south of the border. His exploding visions from desert landscapes lead us on journeys where there is no turning back. Whether our location within his world is pin-pointed or not, these vibrant texts are more lethal than the most accurate map.–Ray Gonzalez, author of Touching the Fire
These tight stories could be photographs taken from the lurid pages of Alarma!; they depict the scarred face and psyche of modern Mexico, a country filled with casual violence and mindless rage. In a style reminiscent of Juan Rulfo’s classic work The Burning Plain, Parra gives voice to the new underdogs of Mexican society–the petty clerks, disillusioned workers, transvestites, brujos, and vengeful campesinos–and we hear their cry for a long time after.–Alejandro Murguía, author of This War Called Love
Eduardo Antonio Parra drags you to the Maximum Mexican border-abyss: Meet the desert’s Dante, go down with a smashed fender-heart and a dangling, lustful camera-tongue. If you really wanna know what’s going on in the nether-border zones of Mexico, if you truly want to come to terms with lives triturated in the psycho-suture of our times and our collective hybrid body, read this, stop fooling yourself, Parra puts it together. All you gotta do is pick it up.–Juan Felipe Herrera, author of Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler
It’s always extremely difficult to write about the limits of human suffering without descending into voyeurism. But not for Eduardo Parra. From preop prostitutes robbed of their sex change money to loving homeless couples on the doorstep of death, Parra explores the fate of modern Mexico’s lowest strata with the literary imagination of a 19th-century Russian novelist and an ethnographer’s eye for detail. Simultaneously horrified and yet oddly hopeful, No Man’s Land is a stunning introduction to one of Latin America’s best new writers.–Joel Schalit, author of Jerusalem Calling
Eduardo Antonio Parra (Leon, Guanajuato, 1965) is the author of two collections of stories and winner of Mexico’s National Prize for the Short Story.