All results for tag “mexico-novels”
Showing 51—72 of 72 results

Aztec by Gary Jennings Reviewed by Allan Cogan

I found this novel to be a total winner. In fact, it just kept on getting better and better and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A couple of people described it as "that gory book" when I mentioned I was reading it. Yes, it’s gory, because it describes a society that was rather big on human sacrifice and a people who were rather beastly to neighboring tribes. But they had worthy things going for them, too. They built a wonderful city and produced great artists and created a viable civilization. My hat is off to Gary Jennings. read more

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story is based on an actual event in Mexican history when, in 1926, then President Calles began a persecution of the Roman Catholic Church by burning churches and killing priests and, in general, creating a Godless country. The reason for the persecution was what the government called the Church's greed and debauchery. The campaign was more successful in some states than in others. Tabasco was the most rabid persecutor and the Governor, Tomas Garrido Canabal, actually drove every priest out of the state. Canabal was determined to show that a well-run society was possible without allowing any place for religion. Churches were destroyed and the stones used to pave roads. To protect the populace he also outlawed alcohol and jazz. The importation of saxophones was banned. One follower was so devoted to the cause he carried a business card which explained that he was the personal enemy of God. In some cases a citizen could be severely penalized for saying "Adios" simply because it referred to God. read more

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This, like its predecessor, All The Pretty Horses, is another coming-of-age story involving a young American in the border country between Mexico and New Mexico in the 1930s. Billy Parham is sixteen years old when he traps a wolf in New Mexico and decides to take the injured animal back across the border to its home. It’s an interesting journey. read more

Strange Pilgrims: Twelve Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The stories almost all seem to deal with Latin Americans travelling to Europe for one reason or another. read more

Border Crossings by David L. Fleming Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The book is ased on an actual incident in relations between the U.S. and Mexico when, in 1916, Pancho Villa's bandidos, led by Antonio Salazar, raided the small town of Columbus, New Mexico. The border between the two countries in those times was a more tense and seemingly less well-defined place at the beginning of the century. Certainly there was less coming-and-going between the two countries then. read more

Frida: A Novel Based on the Life of Frida Kahlo by Barbara Mujica Reviewed by Allan Cogan

"Although events in Mexican history and in Frida's life provide the general framework, many incidents and characters portrayed here are the author's inventions. Although many of Frida's biographers mention her younger sister, Christina, I have reinvented the youngest Kahlo girl to make her a perspicacious witness to Frida's life. My intention in writing Frida was to capture the essence of Frida Kahlo's personality, not to document her life. I was particularly interested in what it might be like to be the unexceptional sister of such an exceptional woman…." read more

Mexico by James Michener Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The good thing about "Mexico" is that Michener has done enormous research in order to write it. read more

The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This isn't a book about Mexico. Rather, it's about Mexicans in California right now. read more

The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Even though the story starts out calmly enough, by the time you reach chapter two, you're in the middle of the wildest kind of fantasy, part new age and part sci-fi, complete with time travel, space travel, reincarnation, astrology and almost anything else you can imagine. The time span of the book stretches from the fall of Moctezuma to the 23rd century read more

Gringos by Charles Portis Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story concerns Jimmy Burns who has gone to live in Mexico. He's a most unmemorable character. Jimmy maintains himself doing odd jobs, buying and selling artifacts and working with people on archeological projects in various parts of the country. He runs into many characters throughout the novel. read more

A Chance to See Egypt by Sandra Scofield Reviewed by Allan Cogan

My spies tell me that author Scofield used to live in Ajijic and that Lago de Luz, the setting for her novel, is in fact Ajijic. If so, here’s her description of the village: "Lago de Luz, on the altiplano far from the sea, where it is neither hot nor cold, boasts no buildings higher than two stories, and no slick discos. It is rather a sleepy place, swollen on weekends when musicians and vendors make the plaza festive for the tourists in from the nearby city. Resident Americans and Canadians make their own social life in their suburban enclaves and trailer parks, their apartments and houses, halls and meeting rooms. The Lakeside Society is the hub of activity, the place where everyone crosses, but there are many diversions: Elk Clubs, Rotarians, Veterans Clubs, Red Cross and all the interest groups, for cards and dominoes and self-improvement. " read more

Wild Steps of Heaven Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The setting of the story is around 1910, the time of the Mexican Revolution and the war is an ever-present background to the story. It's a time when great cruelties were imposed on the Indian populace by the country's rulers. Indeed, genocide is the only word you could use to describe what happened. The villain of the piece is a colonel of the Rurales who makes it his personal mission to see that every Indian dies in the most hideous fashion possible. As villains go, this one is a real bastard. read more

Like Water for Chocolate Reviewed by Allan Cogan

"Like Water for Chocolate" is a sort of combined novel and cookbook. Food plays a very prominent part in the narrative. The heroine, Tita, is a wonderful cook and we are even provided with her recipes along with the action. The story is set at the time of the Mexican Revolution - 1910-1920 - in Piedras Negras in Northern Mexico. And, like so many Mexican stories, it concerns a family. The story mainly concerns Tita, the youngest daughter, the remarkable cook and originator of all those recipes. read more

Puerto Vallarta Squeeze Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's a rather odd novel from the author of "The Bridges of Madison Country" and "Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend". I've always thought of Waller as a writer of romances, going only by the titles of his books. This one, however, is a quite suspenseful "chase" story - complete with a rather bloody ending - as well as being a travelogue of at least one area of Mexico. The two leading characters are rather unlikely people to be involved in such a tale. read more

The Crystal Frontier by Carlos Fuentes Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The book consists of nine short narratives - stories, if you like - each one occurring in the hazy borderline between Mexico and America - what Fuentes chooses to call the crystal frontier. read more

Atticus Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Atticus Cody is a 67 year old Colorado rancher. He’s a very successful straight-shooting kind of guy. He has a son, Scott, who is a painter, evidently talented. He has gone to Mexico and is out of touch with his father. Atticus cares: Scott doesn’t seem to be concerned. When the story opens, Atticus has learned about Scott’s death, by suicide, in a place called Resurrección, near Cancun. Atticus goes to Resurrección to pick up his son’s body and return it to Colorado. There he meets up with the cast of characters who knew Scott, most of whom are, at best, hippies and bohemians, at worst, drifters and fugitives. read more

Consider This, Señora Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The highly improbable plot concerns two characters, Sue and Bud, who come together on a dried up mesa where there’s a lake and a nearby town. Sue is an artist, trying to find herself in Mexico. Bud is on the run from the IRS for non-payment of taxes. The two form a highly unlikely union and purchase ten acres of land in order to set up a business building houses on the slopes overlooking the lake. The story covers a few years in the lives of Sue and Bud. Other characters appear, of course. A few people do buy the houses that Bud builds. Such as the elderly Ursula who seems to have come to Mexico to die. And then there’s Fran, another lady with Mexican connections who wants to build a home in this unlikely place as a way to hang on to her handsome Mexican lover. There are also some locals who move in and out of the plot - the town mayor, a young doctor, maids, gardeners, etc. read more

Cities of the Plain Reviewed by Allan Cogan

What a disappointment! I really enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy: All The Pretty Horses and The Crossing. But this final volume is something of a letdown. McCarthy still has that great prose gift going for him, but, in this case, it's in the service of a rather tawdry narrative. The two heroes of the first volumes come together here. To refresh your memory, they're Billy Parham and John Grady Cole. The time: 1952. The place: New Mexico and various border cities of Mexico. Our lads are a couple of ranch hands in an area that is soon to be taken over by the government for nuclear testing. The times are a-changing and a way of life is disappearing. read more

The Orange Tree Reviewed by Allan Cogan

orange tree
Here's Fuentes at it again, publishing short stories and novellas under a single title and trying to interlink them into a cohesive whole as he tried to do in The Crystal Frontier. The connection here is the orange tree, the symbol of Spain. read more

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy Reviewed by Allan Cogan

You would be hard pressed to find a more Mexican novel than this one. Just about all of the action takes place in the state of Coahuila. I don’t particularly enjoy reading westerns but such is the power of McCarthy’s writing that I was drawn into those small researches simply to enhance my enjoyment of his book. read more

Aztec Autumn Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Readers of these reviews may remember that I was a big fan of Jenning’s previous work, Aztec. I gave it my highest accolade – five stars. And here comes the sequel, which is almost as good. The action in this one takes place 12 years after all the goings on in Aztec and concerns the adventures of 18 year old Tenamixtli, the son of Mixtli, the hero of the former novel. Indeed, in the first chapter, Tenamixtli witnesses an execution, a burning at the stake publicly carried out by Spanish troops. Later, he discovers that the executed man was his father. How’s that for getting a story started? As you can imagine, revenge plays a big part in the plot. read more

Mexico Way by Robert Moss Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Bob Culbertson, a Border Patrol chief, is chasing Mexican border crossers somewhere in Texas when a light aircraft in obvious difficulties flies overhead and then crashes in the scrub. Culbertson and his partner go to investigate and find two dead men and 40 or 50 bags of cocaine in the aircraft. One of the men has a satchel with a pouch in it. When he examines it, he finds a collection of government documents which he believes are CIA papers. read more
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