'The Dead Girls': a satyrical black comedy set in the corrupt Mexico of the 1960s
Mexican Jorge Ibargüengoitia is considered one of the most influential writers in Latin American literature. This is his only novel translated into English
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Killed when Avianca Flight 11 crashed in 1983 near Madrid, Spain, Jorge Ibargüengoitia is considered one of the most influential writers in Latin American literature.
One of his masterpieces is 'Las Muertas', which is now being re-released in Spanish by Cátedra. Constructed from various testimonies, 'Las muertas' is the extraordinary recreation of a real case that shocked Mexico in the sixties, when several corpses of prostitutes appeared in different properties of two madams, Las Poquianchis, owners of three brothels, who were involved in women trade. One of the witnesses is Simón Corona, who that day had decided to meet again with Serafina Baladro, his lover. Corona will have to confess before inspector Teódulo Cueto: he once helped Serafina and her sister Arcángela to move the exhumed corpse of a woman.
As reported by the publishers, this novel highlights the "special brilliance" of the virtues that characterize the Guanajuato author's work as a whole: direct but elegant style, recognizable but memorable characters, absurd but realistic (or even real) situations, the strength of the dialogues or the conciseness of the descriptions, which sometimes verge on theatrical annotation.
"His virtues as a playwright (he studied at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM, from where he obtained a Master's degree in Letters with a specialization in Dramatic Art), come hand in hand with very mature novelistic techniques, all spiced with the black humor that characterized the Mexican and that in 'Las muertas' reaches extremes that are perhaps disturbing," say the Cátedra publishers.
'Las muertas' was first published in 1977 by a Mexican publisher and was translated into English by the publisher Picador in 2018: The Dead Girls.
Ibargüengoitia later published 'Dos crímenes' (1979), a novel that begins when the protagonist, Marco, decides to flee from the police to avoid trouble due to his clandestine political militancy. He goes to the countryside, to his rich uncle's house, in search of money with which to disappear for a while. But once there, the web of lies he weaves to hide his past, the passions that are unleashed around him and in which he allows himself to be trapped, and the murky ambitions of his millionaire uncle's relatives and friends will end up leading to two crimes.
In 1982, a year before his death, he published his last novel, 'Los pasos de López', inspired by Miguel Hidalgo and the participants in the Querétaro conspiracy of 1810. He is also the author of numerous theater plays.