Synopses & Reviews
Three unconnected people travel north, each passing in isolation over one of the most troubled and controversial dividing lines in the world: the Mexico-US border. But in a melee of language and blood, their stories and the stories of those they meet of a young serial killer, a waitress and graphic novelist and her lover (and former professor), and an outsider artist in a mental institution gradually begin to coalesce. Daring in both its protagonists and its structure, Edmundo Paz Soldán's Norte is a fast-paced, vivid, and operatic blending of distinct voices. Together, they lay bare the darkness of the line over which these souls like so many others have passed.
A prominent member of a new generation of Latin American writers, Paz Soldán stands in defiant opposition to the magical realism of the past century, instead grounding his work in political, economic, and historical realities. Norte is no exception; it is a tale of displacement and the very human costs of immigration. Shocking with its violence even as it thrills with its language, confounding rather than cowering under the cliche of the murderous, drug-dealing immigrant, Norte is a disquieting, imperative work an undeniable reflection of our fragmented modern world.
"The lives of a mentally ill savant, a young artist, and a serial killer converge in a powerful novel that shuttles across the US–Mexico border. The wide-ranging Bolivia-born Paz Soldán delivers a small cross-section of very different lives of Latinos in the United States, better to counter casual generalizations about them. But Norte's key strength is its well-formed individual characterizations... Paz Soldán effectively inhabits the interior lives of each of his three characters, and Miles’s translation captures their distinct emotional flavors... A superb set of interlinked character studies." Kirkus Reviews
"This searing novel about three Latinos lost north of the border is not for the faint of heart. . . . Paz Soldan perfectly modulates the tension, evincing our sympathy even as we recoil. . . . We don't forgive, but we understand. This is the Bolivian-born Paz Soldan's miraculous gift. With unflinching realism and steely grace, Norte reminds us why literature can do what journalism cannot: We inhabit the minds of people we'd prefer to forget." Lili Wright, New York Times Book Review
“Paz Soldán is one of the leading Bolivian writers of his generation. . . . In truth his work is so multifaceted that any single classification disserves him. . . . [This is] a sterling translation by editor and translator Miles. It traces three thematically interlocked narratives of Latin Americans who have made the border crossing and, to quote the author, have become ‘lost in the US.’ Containing elements of popular pulp fiction, academic satire, metafiction, and psychological realism, it is a riveting book that gives a complex perspective on the borderlands shared by the United States and Mexico.” Scott Esposito, BOMB
About the Author
Born in Bolivia, Edmundo Paz Soldán is professor of Latin American literature at Cornell University. He is the multiple-award-winning author of five short story collections and ten novels, two of which, Turing's Delirium and The Matter of Desire, have been translated into English.