Ancestral legacies and the power of female voices — Brenda Lozano’s Witches is a beguiling Pandora’s box of a book. Exploring two Mexicos through three women – an indigenous healer, a trans woman, and a journalist – the parallel narratives of two of the women are divinely interwoven to create a uniquely captivating story that packs long-lingering punch. “I am a shaman but most call me a curandera, that is how I am known. Some call me a bruja, a witch…I heal things people have lived in the past, so I heal what they live in the present. And so people say also that I heal their future”. So speaks the enticing voice of Feliciana, an indigenous healer who lives in a traditional-minded village in the Mexican province of Jalisco. When her cousin Paloma, a fellow healer, is murdered, a journalist from Mexico City goes to Feliciana’s village to report on her death. The challenges of being female in a macho society, the tussle between values of the past and the present, and the elemental need to understand one’s place in the world are potently evoked through the women’s stories, with the journalist discovering her true voice through embracing Feliciana and Paloma’s experiences.
Winner PEN Translates Award (UK) Recovering from an unspecified accident, the narrator of Loop finds herself in waiting rooms of different kinds: airport departure lounges, doctors' surgeries, and above all at home, awaiting the return of her boyfriend, who has travelled to Spain following the death of his mother. Loop is a love story told from the perspective of a contemporary Penelope who, instead of weaving and unravelling her shroud, writes and erases her thoughts in her 'ideal' notebook. At once, funny and thought-provoking, her thoughts range from her stationery preferences to the different scales on which life is lived, while a cast of unlikely characters cross the page, from Proust to a mysterious dwarf, from a dreamy cat to David Bowie singing 'Wild is the Wind'. Written in an assured, irreverent style, Loop is the journal of an absence, one in which the most minute or whimsical observations open up universes. Combining aphoristic fragments with introspective narrative, and evoking Italo Calvino and Fernando Pessoa in its playfulness and wry humour, this original reflection on relationships, solitude and the purpose of writing offers a glimpse of contemporary life in Mexico City, while asking what it really means to find our place in the world.