Cristina Rivera Garza

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Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker

My favorite essay in this book is the last one, called “Keep Writing.” What follows is an urgent, repetitive beckoning of “Because, because, because.” Here are some of my favorite reasons why (CF): 

 "Because we become social in language. My I for you. Your you for me. Our y’all for them."

 "Because memory."

 "Because look how the verb to burst bursts out of itself."

 "Because when faced with the questions: Is it worth it to get up early in the morning just to keep writing? Can writing, in fact, be something that acts against fear or terror? Has someone ever used a book as a shield over their chest, just above their heart? Is it possible, not to mention desirable, to grip or wield or raise a world? My answer continues to be yes."

By one of Mexico's greatest contemporary writers, this investigation into state violence and mourning gives voice to the political experience of collective pain.

Grieving is a hybrid collection of short crónicas, journalism, and personal essays on systemic violence in contemporary Mexico and along the US-Mexico border. Drawing together literary theory and historical analysis, she outlines how neoliberalism, corruption, and drug trafficking—culminating in the misnamed “war on drugs”—has shaped her country. Working from and against this political context, Cristina Rivera Garza posits that collective grief is an act of resistance against state violence, and that writing is a powerful mode of seeking social justice and embodying resilience.

She states: “As we write, as we work with language—the humblest and most powerful force available to us—we activate the potential of words, phrases, sentences. Writing as we grieve, grieving as we write: a practice able to create refuge from the open. Writing with others. Grieving like someone who takes refuge from the open. Grieving, which is always a radically different mode of writing.”

Paperback ||168 pages || 5.25" x 8.00" || The Feminist Press at CUNY