August 6th, 2014

McSweeney's #46

     The 41st book of the year, and the last I'll be reviewing here (for the time being, anyway), is the latest volume of McSweeney's, specifically McSweeney's No 46: Thirteen Crime Stories from Latin America.
     From the subtitle (and the previous volume of McSweeney's) you might guess that this is a reprint anthology. Instead, they solicited new stories involving crime from thirteen Latin American writers that they thought the American audience should know about. Some are established writers, others are rising stars. I note that about half of them are living outside their country of origin.
     The collection is certainly solid, no clunkers in here. There is a remarkable consistency to the stories, however. They are universally bleak, and these short pieces didn't give enough of a sample to distinguish the styles. If I had been told they were all by the same author, I'd have believed it.
     The stories are not, for the most part, about solving crimes. They are not about the restoration of order. Injustice, corruption, and tragedy are the themes. Revenge is more likely to be the positive outcome (when there is one) than justice.
     Once again, I admire McSweeney's for bringing foreign writers to American attention (I note earlier Icelandic, Australian Aboriginal, and Rwandan samples from the volumes I've read). I'd be happy to read more by any of these writers.