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Covering some of the best Mexican short story writing, Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction offers an anthology of stories translated from Spanish to English for the first time, all written by some of Mexico’s finest authors born after 1945.  The short fiction ranges from the intellectually stimulating to the humorous with everything in between; but be it serious or funny, it’s all great writing that will keep the reader hooked.  

Part of the Latin American Literature Series published by Dalkey Archive Press, Best of Contemporary Fiction contains both the English translations and the original Spanish; English on the right hand page, Spanish on the left.  If you haven’t read many translated works, translations can sometimes be a little jerky or feel contrived.  I have never experienced that in any of the books published by Dalkey, and I certainly don’t here.  The English versions read smoothly, and Spanish speakers will enjoy reading the stories in the original.  As an English speaker, I’m happy to see the stories of Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction translated, thus reaching a larger audience of enthusiastic readers, of which I am certainly one.

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just tell me why you’d like to read Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

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3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

First published in Spanish as “Sombra de la Sombra”, Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s “The Shadow of the Shadow” was a book I knew I’d like from the first page. Published by Cinco Puntos Press, “The Shadow of the Shadow” is not your average mystery novel. With chapter titles such as “Death of a Trombonist” and “Look in His Socks”, you know the book isn’t short on humor. Set in lawless 1920’s postrevolutionary Mexico City, this tall tale has you believing every impossible minute of it. The four main characters, avid domino players and best friends, find threads from a mystery continuously dropped in their laps, and eventually they must solve the series of crimes or lose their lives.

The most engaging elements of this book are its witty, clever voice and quirky characters. Even the background characters who drop in and out are people you wish you really knew (except for the gun-toting ones). The snappy banter between the four friends and their interaction with one another zings back and forth and keeps the pages turning. Add to that some old fashioned shotgun shootouts, and you’ve got yourself a book that’s impossible to put down.

My favorite line from “The Shadow of the Shadows”: “My only regret is that you were unconscious the last time we met.” I’d love to quote that in casual conversation, but I hesitate to imagine an appropriate circumstance.