What the Mexican novelist can teach us about the nativist fantasies of Donald Trump. Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft is a surprisingly funny, intensely complex and occasionally shocking take on the revisionist Western. It’s one of the . Texas: The Great Theft (Deep Vellum). Please welcome to Skylight Books the author Roberto Bolaño calls “Mexico’s best woman writer” Carmen Boullosa!.

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Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa

boulolsa The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa. Boullosa is a masterful spinner of the fantastic”— Miami Herald An imaginative writer in the tradition of Juan Rulfo, Jorge Luis Borges, and Cesar Aira, Carmen Boullosa shows herself to be at the height of her powers carmsn her latest novel.

Loosely based on the little-known Mexican invasion of the U “Mexico’s greatest woman writer. Loosely based on boullowa little-known Mexican invasion of the United States, Texas is a richly imagined evocation of the volatile Tex-Mex borderland. Boullosa views border history through distinctly Mexican eyes, and her sympathetic portrayal of each of her wildly diverse characters—Mexican ranchers and Texas Rangers, Comanches and cowboys, German socialists and runaway slaves, Southern belles and dancehall girls—makes her storytelling tremendously powerful and absorbing.

Shedding important historical light on current battles over the Mexican—American frontier while telling a gripping story with Boullosa’s singular prose and formal innovation, Texas marks the welcome return of a major writer who has previously captivated American audiences and is poised to do so again. Author of seventeen novels, her books have been translated into numerous world languages.

Samantha Schnee is founding carmeen and chairman of the board of Words Without Borders. She has also been a senior editor with Zoetrope tsxas, and her translations have appeared in the GuardianGrantaand the New York Times.

Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Texasplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Oct 07, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: Boullosa achieves the amazing goal of immersing you in a cast of named characters so that as events unfold in the border troubles ofyou participate as if you belonged to all segments of the community.

Each individual has both an assigned trade–butcher, vaquero, innkeeper–and a political role they choose or find thrust upon them. That is, while the conflict is sparked by gringo Boullosa achieves the amazing goal of immersing you in a cast of named characters so that as events unfold in the border troubles ofyou participate as if you belonged to all segments of the community.

These separate people matter. For me the most astounding thing was that by virtue of the care she takes to situate each character in commerce and relationship as she introduces him or her, you can keep them straight.

It also helped that I wrote down every single one as I encountered them, but I rarely had to refer to my notes. Somehow you cared about ttexas person, even though you only spent a few sentences or paragraphs with them.

The tone is detached and semi-fantastic at the same time, with embedded stories providing background about the longstanding and pervasive violence in the region. But this is really about the backstory of land confiscation and general doubledealing in Texas, where the original gringo settlers seized the land they had been given by the Mexican government and created an independent country, then joined the Texae States as a slave state, then took to stealing what the Mexicans had left in the region.


His first battle experience was on exactly the ground of this novel, what is now Brownsville Texas, across the Rio Grande or Rio Bravo from Matamoros, Mexico.

These events take place about 10 years later, after the US had invaded Mexico, won Mexican carmwn of Texas, California, etc, and the wild west was in full operation. The slave trade and recapture business texws important, because Texans could own slaves but Mexico granted their freedom if they made it across the river.

Fiction review: ‘Texas: The Great Theft,’ by Carmen Boullosa | Books | Dallas News

Boullosa is brutal in her portrayal of gringo attitudes about the characters and capabilities of Mexicans, blacks and American Indians. The main character shapes a coalition from these rejected groups to fight back. I leave you to guess whether he wins or loses. Many are victims, but some are using the flexible rules of the frontier caarmen carve out different lives for themselves.

I recommend this highly.

She is definitely an accomplished writer, using interesting techniques to weave your immersive experience. Occasionally the cliched character or image clumks e. Said wealth institutional thief using the courts to effect his confiscations is named Stealman, for example. Sounds heavy handed, but packing in characters gives you a pass on helping the reader decide where they belong quickly.

Dec 26, Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it Shelves: Over the years, I have picked up a more realistic view of how this state developed and I assume that what is taught in schools has shifted somewhat closer to reality.

By the time of the novel, with Texas a part of the United States, the American citizens living in Bruneville Brownville today are distinguished by their avarice, racism, casual violence, and devotion to slavery. The Fist Cortina War of is the historical incident from which Boullosa spins her tale.

Her fictionalization involves some historical facts, some slight name changes, and a large cast of minor characters who provide a kaleidoscopic view of the events. When the local sheriff, a predictable lowlife character, pistol whips an elderly Mexican for public drunkenness, the scion of a distinguished Mexican family intervenes.

The ramifications of that moment play out over a period of a few days in scenes that are alternately tragic, comic, enraging, and often hard to follow. But once she has set her elaborate stage, Boullosa settles into some grand storytelling.

Fiction review: ‘Texas: The Great Theft,’ by Carmen Boullosa

After her microscopic study of a few days in a border town, the author concludes with five pages summarizing the future lives of her characters. Dec 20, jeremy rated it really liked it Shelves: Jun 07, Tuck rated it liked bollosa Shelves: La literatura, alta literatura de Boullosa transplanta la historia a su propio planeta.

Esto es un ejemplo de que la literatura tiene que ser creativa. Carmen Boullosa no la ignora, no recrea sino que Crea su mundo. En particular, Texas, va a galope, no paras. Y tiene personajes maravillosos.

Ya sabremos nosotros si lo gozamos o nos quedamos frustrados. Se tiene que permitir el lector entrar a su boullpsa. Jan 02, David Tomlinson rated houllosa it was ok.

I’m a huge fan of Deep Vellum Publishing. Its books and its mission are both top shelf. Having said that, this book just doesn’t work for me. Too much stage-setting, not enough story-telling. I’m not sure if it’s a good story told in a manner too clever by half or simply not a good story, but either way it doesn’t grab the reader the way most Deep Vellum and other good books do. Jun 22, Kobe Bryant rated it it was ok. Like the GTA 4 trailer said, might is right.


Apr 07, Julia Carpenter rated it really liked it. A totally different sort of reading experience.

Just go with the flow, don’t try to remember who all the characters are. It was helpful to read some about the book. A very interesting perspective from the Mexican point of view. May 11, Audrey Schoeman rated it it was amazing Shelves: We follow the news as it spreads around town, and its consequences begin to unfurl, moving with it from one house or market stand to the next, and as we go we meet a varied cast of characters.

The story is told through an omniscient narrator who whirls us from place to place and person to person, unfurling the inner workings of the town. We learn about incest and abuse, about cowardice and violence, dreams of escape and dreams of power. Through it all the narrator builds a sense of urgency, using the short stay with each character to convey the passing of time, repeatedly telling us that there is more to share about an individual or a piece of gossip, but that we are out of time, we must move on to the next place and the next character, following the news as it spreads; or, conversely, allowing longer digressions to fill in background as the pace of events slows down.

The sly humour and the power of the language do a good job of alleviating the weight of a period of history characterized by racism and brutality, and Boullosa has carefully counterweighted the dominant racism of the nascent Americans against the Mexicans by displaying the similar historic prejudice of the Mexicans against the native Indians — the story of dispossession has played out on these lands before. And even the Indians are not romanticized, as is made clear in their harsh life, violence, and treatment of women.

This is not a morality tale, and there are no clear heroes. Instead there is a gritty, messy, eminently readable story of a period in history that many would prefer to imagine is more clear cut. Full review available at http: Yet the plot tends to get lost in the central plains of her novel, which detracts from a satisfying reading experience. Read the full review by visiting our website: A remarkable book that tells the so hidden truth of American expansion in the west through her eyes and words.

Oct 22, Michelle Lancaster rated it really liked it Shelves: Thus was born Deep Vellum Publishing. Deep Vellum, based in Dallas, released its first title today. And what a debut it is: Her translation from the Spanish is inspired: One day in in the Texas town of Bruneville aka BrownsvilleDon Nepomuceno witnesses the local sheriff pistol-whipping a drunken vaquero in the town square.

The town is of two minds about this.

Texas: The Great Theft

The cast of characters in the two towns are a caemen and varied crew, representative of the actual historical residents of the region I swear — look it up: Mexicans, Texans, Native Americans, socialist Germans, escaped slaves, a commune of a dozen Amazons yes, you read that correctlyCubans, Russians, Irishmen, ghosts, espionage agents, agents provocateurs, mystics and one philosopher-baker.

Texas is a delight, packed with sly wit, word-play and sharp observation. The omniscient narrator regularly addresses the reader directly, as actors will address the camera and speak to the audience, poking a sharp stick at absurdity with a deadpan delivery that had me laughing aloud. For instance, the local mystic is hailed by a fence post:

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