As sinuous a novel as Valeria Luiselli's Faces in the Crowd is, it is all the more remarkable on account of it being a debut — and a most assured one at that. The Mexican novelist and essayist's first fiction entwines multiple narratives and perspectives, shifting between them with the ease and gracefulness of a writer far beyond her years (Faces in the Crowd was published when Luiselli was 28). The metafictional scaffolding of Luiselli's novel is seamlessly constructed, and its bibliocentric façade entrenches it within a rich tradition of referential Latin American literature. Faces in the Crowd, beyond its gorgeous writing and superb composition, is modest yet striking, measured yet salient. Last fall, the National Book Foundation named Luiselli one of 2014's "5 under 35," and given the evident range of her myriad literary talents, it's no great wonder why. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
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In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
"Valeria Luiselli's Faces in the Crowd is like nothing I've read in a while...its musings on obsession and ambition are haunting, and its sense of place is fantastic." Electric Literature
"An extraordinary new literary talent." The Daily Telegraph
"Valeria Luiselli's lovely and eccentric first novel is...peppered with arresting imagery." The New York Times
"[A] lovely and mysterious first novel...the multilayered book she has devised brings freshness and excitement to such complex inquiries." The Wall Street Journal
"Throughout Faces in the Crowd, Luiselli crafts beautiful sentences, while gleefully thumbing her nose at novelistic conventions. All that makes her an exciting and essential voice on the Latin American literary landscape." Los Angeles Times
"If every word, for her, has the shadow of two others behind it, and if every city in which she lives carries the ghostly afterimage of all the other cities she has known — as well as the voices of the writers she has researched upon her arrival — then her books become all the more enthralling for the multiplicity they champion...the great beauty of her art is seeing all her contrasting stories collapse or blend or combine into an unexpected whole." Los Angeles Review of Books
About the Author
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. Her novel and essays have been translated into many languages and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's. Some of her recent projects include a ballet libretto for the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center in 2010; a pedestrian sound installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London; and a novella in installments for workers in a juice factory in Mexico. She lives in New York City.