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Books to Read Before You Go To Mexico

by Edward Mack

Feb 6, 2015

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico © Robert Crum | Dreamstime


Mexico is a complex country with a rich, often tragic, history. Reading these novels will help you understand Mexican life, culture and history before you go. Or they will be a deeper exploration and reminiscence when you get back.


Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories, A Love and Rockets Book by Gilbert Hernandez

Palomar is a collection of 10 years’ worth of Hernandez’s comics that chronicle the lives of the residents of a small Mexican pueblo. Using the graphic medium to its greatest advantage, Hernandez delivers a gritty examination filled with magic realism of day-to-day struggles.


Popul Vuh

The Popul Vuh is the origin story and mythology of one of the Americas’ greatest cultures. It also happens to be one of the most important texts in history. Full of blood and guts, triumph and tragedy, it is recommended reading for all.


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Esquivel’s bittersweet soap opera is uniquely Mexican, and there is no way to get closer to what a real household is like than this.


Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo

Brief, powerful and full of intense imagery, Rulfo’s only novel was a landmark in Latin American literature. Rulfo’s surrealistic Mexican landscape is filled with ghosts as he explores his country’s migration to the city and abandonment of their villages.


The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Greene’s theological survey is more than just an exploration into the corruption of good and evil. It also provides the reader a history of Mexico and an examination of its religious and economic dichotomies.


For further reading, check out James Michener’s Mexico, Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz and Ángeles Mastretta’s Tear this Heart Out.



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