Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country by Cristina Rivera Garza

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This philosophical investigation into state violence and mourning in twenty-first-century Mexico weaves together personal essay and literary theory, giving voice to the political experience of collective pain.

By one of Mexico’s greatest contemporary writers, this investigation into state violence and mourning weaves together personal essay and literary theory, giving 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.”

Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country by Cristina Rivera Garza