No One Will See Me Cry by Cristina Rivera-Garza (thoughts)
I adored No One Will See Me Cry by Cristina Rivera-Garza. I came across this when I was putting together my Central Mexico Reading List as it has won the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize; its mental institution setting and focus on turn-of-the-century Mexico City intrigued me. Little did I know I’d find within these pages the woman equivalent of Garcia Marquez! There’s sex and love and madness and politics. I suppose it doesn’t have as much of the outward magical realism trappings as say, One Hundred Years of Solitude (there aren’t multiple generations all with the same name or actual impossible events occurring), but it had the same feel. Except with more of an exploration of women as objects and subjects; far from remaining the lust/love interest of the male characters, the women also get to have their own voices. There are two main characters: the man is a photographer, currently employed by the asylum to take portraits of the patients, and is also a morphine addict. The woman is a patient, and the photographer immediately recognises her as a prostitute he photographed years before. After this meeting, they begin slowly sharing their life stories with one another, set against one of the most turbulent and romantic periods of Mexican history. It all adds up to a stunning novel, and I adored every page. I’m now on the hunt to track down more of her work; I can only hope more of her backlist has been translated into English! Also, one of my favourite online magazines, Belletrista, has interviewed Rivera-Garza; luckily for me, one of the questions was about her favourite authors. I plan to try those too!
I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy twisty fiction or books set during the Belle Epoque or those looking for new literary authors to explore.