Finalist for the 2020 National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Criticism
By one of Mexico's greatest contemporary writers, this investigation into state violence and mourning gives voice to the political experience of collective pain.
Grieving is a hybrid collection of short crónicas, journalism, and personal essays on systemic violence in contemporary Mexico and along the US-Mexico border. Drawing together literary theory and historical analysis, she outlines how neoliberalism, corruption, and drug trafficking—culminating in the misnamed “war on drugs”—has shaped her country. Working from and against this political context, Cristina Rivera Garza posits that collective grief is an act of resistance against state violence, and that writing is a powerful mode of seeking social justice and embodying resilience.
She states: “As we write, as we work with language—the humblest and most powerful force available to us—we activate the potential of words, phrases, sentences. Writing as we grieve, grieving as we write: a practice able to create refuge from the open. Writing with others. Grieving like someone who takes refuge from the open. Grieving, which is always a radically different mode of writing.”
“A lucid, poignant collection of essays and poetry. . . . deeply hopeful, ultimately love letters to writing itself, and to the power of language to overcome the silence that impunity imposes.” —New York Times Book Review
"For all the losses tallied, the pieces are imbued with optimism and an activist’s passion for reshaping the world." —The New Yorker