Libros made in Tijuana / Heriberto Yépez

Made in Tijuana Books

I will go over five recent books of literature from Tijuana.

Outside Tijuana few people know that for many years the work of Luis Humberto Crosthwaite was being read alongside that of Roberto Castillo Udiarte (1951), an emblematic poet of border literature. Nuestras vidas son otras. Antología personal 1985-2010 (Aullido Libros-Nortestación, 2010) gathers some of his poetry, which like his prose has the tone of a neighborhood guy, warm and informal. Castillo is a border classic.

Tijuana: crimen y olvido (Tusquets, 2010) by Luis Humberto Crosthwaite (1962), like other novels by him, is fragmentary and has a northern accent. Crosthwaite is usually paratactic and playful; in this book he decided to be more syntactic and dramatic. It would be simplistic to read this book only looking for a plot; one has to read it like a look-out post for narrative structures.

Tijuana writers have been influenced by English, multiculturalism, music and new technologies. Their rhetoric remixes. From Spanglish to the blog, Tijuana literature was born far from Mexico City; dreamed in casinos, currency exchanges, lines to reach the other side and nightspots, it took on its own form. Teejay style.

From this clique of synthetic writings we can still find the derivation of Señora Krupps (Static Books, 2010) by Javier Fernández (1971). More than short stories, machines of heterodox prose. The text of Tijuana distinguishes itself piece by piece through its framework. It conceives the page as menu, jukebox, Foreign Club and maquila factory.

Along with Crosthwaite’s, another book that circulates nationally is Confesión de un sicario. Testimonio de Drago, lugarteniente de un cártel mexicano (Grijalbo, 2011) by Juan Carlos Reyna (1980). Reyna grew up reading Crosthwaite, Castillo and Saavedra. His book is a journalistic application of the resources of Tijuana literature. The testimony of an assassin? Yes, but also a dose of Zeta magazine and Nortec. Reyna created the context for the drug dealer to be transcribed by border literature.

Crossfader 2.0. B-sides, hidden tracks & remixes (Nortestación, 2011) by Rafa Saavedra (1967) is the fifth book from this post-everything freelancer; the voice in off of a radiant desperation. Those who know how to read note that this post-literature is an open bar of verbosity. Noise and voices in clubs and parties. Page music. Pessoa plus pop.

Tijuana literature is made up of code-making, fusion and utopizzas.

Maybe it’s already over: the city that gave it a form is gone. Tijuana literature is a collection of postcards from its entropy.

TJ is a minor literature –Deleuze dixit– made by a minority within a bigger language. A defense of difference denied. Gregarious, over-codified, ironicized.

Except TJ doesn’t deterritorialize itself but rather, hyperterritorializes itself.

Tijuana didn’t write to continue Mexican Literature but instead to narrate a un-national city. To assemble literature, bi-tongue and music. Cool corrido: an other identity.


{ Heriberto Yépez, Suplemento Laberinto, Milenio (México D.F.), 30 July 2011 }

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