“Tijuana es otra Tijuana.”

A friend in Mexico City recently sent me a copy of Heriberto Yépez's second novel, A.B.U.R.T.O. (México DF: Editorial Sudamericana, 2005), which I began reading last night. Yépez seems to be following a more traditional approach with this second novel (instead of the anti-novel he proposed with El matasellos), reconstructing the life and thoughts of Mario Aburto Martínez, the young man who shot the PRI party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994.

Tijuana is also the focus of this book, with the entire second chapter dedicated to explaining and theorizing that city, in relation to the rest of Mexico and to the United States. Part of what has drawn me into this novel very quickly is that Yépez is writing about a time period (early 1990s) that has become an obsession of mine recently. Parts of the chapter on Tijuana were first posted at Yépez's blog sometime in the last two years. He includes a great excerpt (translated into Spanish) from Richard Rodriguez's second book, commenting on Tijuana. Yépez's citation of Rodriguez reflects the eclectic range of references in this book. (I have to pause here to say that Rodriguez's third book, Brown: The Last Discovery of America, is brilliant. As an essayist, Rodriguez has few peers.) The plot, the epigraphs and the quotations all point to Yépez's eloquent effort to evoke that city's often-confusing multiplicity. He writes Tijuana as an allegory and as a symptom. Tijuana is another Tijuana.

For a more thorough review of A.B.U.R.T.O. I recommend this post at Sergio Téllez-Pon's blog from last August. (Thanks to Sergio for sending the book.)

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