Additional Book Information
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
The Taiga Syndrome
by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana
Innovative Mexican author Rivera Garza’s dazzling speculative noir novel is narrated by a woman hired to find a man’s missing second wife. . . . As she tracks the mysterious couple over snow-covered trails in the boreal forest, the universe becomes eerie and unpredictable. She encounters a feral boy, a ferocious wolf, earthy villagers and wild lumberjacks. Rivera Garza invokes Hansel and Gretel as she spins her marvellous, atmospheric tale.
—Jane Ciabattari, “The 10 Best Books of 2018,” BBC
This novel, in a translation by Levine and Kana, is taut, lyrical, and strange, and it fits right in with Dorothy, A Publishing Project’s commitment to work that challenges what genres and forms can do. Like the best speculative fiction, it follows the sinuous paths of its own logic but gives the reader plenty of room to play. Fans of fairy tales and detective stories, Kathryn Davis and Idra Novey, will all find something to love. An eerie, slippery gem of a book.
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
As lyrical as a poem ("Look at this: your knees. They are used for kneeling upon reality, also for crawling, terrified. You use them to sit on a lotus flower and say goodbye to the immensity") and as fantastic as a fairy tale, Rivera Garza’s gorgeous, propulsive novel will haunt readers long after it’s finished.
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
A Lynchian noir from one of Mexico’s best novelists tracks a missing couple in a ravaged no-man’s-land, weaving a mystery out of fairy tales, disaster capitalism, and shadowy afflictions.
Readers of this book will encounter one of the most fiercely original literary voices from Latin America.
—Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado,Los Angeles Review of Books
This insanely creepy & brilliant book by the incomparable Cristina Rivera Garza will keep you awake at night. Garza is a master of atmosphere. A detective novel directed by David Lynch & narrated by Bolaño.
—Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore
Rivera Garza belongs to the tradition of iconoclastic writers who question why our world has to be the way it is. This is the sort of powerful inquiry that often brings art to its most immersive, rewarding, and generative place. Read her books and explore your own taiga.
—Veronica Scott Esposito, Literary Hub
Mystery, sci-fi, Socratic dialogue, retelling of "Hansel and Gretel": The Taiga Syndrome is a delightful shape-shifter of a novel.
—Jonathan Woollen, Politics & Prose
[A]n explosive writer yet to be fully accounted for in English.
Cristina Rivera Garza does not respect what is expected of a writer, of a novel, of language. She is an agitator.
In plain, lyrical language, [Rivera] Garza drapes a poetic hush over the narrative, creating an unsettling fable-like world. It’s a mystery that creeps, with careful, steady steps.
—Laura Adamczyk, The A.V. Club
The contemporary Latin American detective novel is a form that uses the individual’s rollicking quest as a means of resistance against repressive structures and the violences they engender. Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Taiga Syndrome, in this stellar translation by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana, gives English-language readers a lyrically luminous take on the genre while not skimping on its adventurous antics. If The Taiga Syndrome is a book of illness, it’s also about exile, disappearance, borders, love, language and translation, desire, capitalism and its discontents, fairy tales, and what it means to be possessed by the madness of others and the madness of ourselves. The murmurs that haunt the detective in The Taiga Syndrome evoke the history of Mexican fiction, most notably Juan Rulfo. But this is not a religious state of purgatory. It’s more like Apocalypse Now fused with the worlds of Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges. In other words, there is no one writing novels as phantasmagorically exquisite as Cristina Rivera Garza’s. The Taiga Syndrome, which is both quietly poetic and narratively unhinged, is a crucial addition to her distinguished oeuvre.
The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza is a dark, daring contemporary fable with echoes from the past. Small, short, covered in gray, it sparkles on the page and dazzles the mind.
[Rivera] Garza doesn’t stop with fairy tales, however; she inverts traditional tropes from any number of genres to great effect. The subject of the mystery is not the crime or even the victim, but the detective. The unreliable narrator reports on her own unreliability.