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Faces in the Crowd (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

My favorite book that I read in 2015. Set in Mexico City and Manhattan, this book is a jewel. A DF writer remembers an earlier life in NYC, when she worked as a translator of Latin American literature and did freewheelin' things like paint her entire apartment cobalt blue, in her chonis. Now, she's a mother of a baby and a prescient, omen-spouting little boy, married to a man  who may be on the verge of leaving her, and in her scant free time she's writing a novel in which her pantheon of alter-selves inevitably appear, as well as little-known Mexican poet Gilberto Owen. It's rare to find a slim novel (experimental in structure, about "writing," no less) with characters as rich and compelling as Luiselli's, and her prose has the lightness and transparency to to display gorgeous motifs like the subway and the titular Pound image, a potted plant stolen from a roofop, a false manuscript, and darn near perfect sentences. 

— From Gina's Picks


Electric Literature 25 Best Novels of 2014
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"An extraordinary new literary talent."--The Daily Telegraph

"In part a portrait of the artist as a young woman, this deceptively modest-seeming, astonishingly inventive novel creates an extraordinary intimacy, a sensibility so alive it quietly takes over all your senses, quivering through your nerve endings, opening your eyes and heart. Youth, from unruly student years to early motherhood and a loving marriage--and then, in the book's second half, wilder and something else altogether, the fearless, half-mad imagination of youth, I might as well call it--has rarely been so freshly, charmingly, and unforgettably portrayed. Valeria Luiselli is a masterful, entirely original writer."--Francisco Goldman

In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
"Luiselli's haunting debut novel, about a young mother living in Mexico City who writes a novel looking back on her time spent working as a translator of obscure works at a small independent press in Harlem, erodes the concrete borders of everyday life with a beautiful, melancholy contemplation of disappearance. . . . Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition." --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. Her novel and essays have been translated into many languages and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's. Some of her recent projects include a ballet libretto for the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center in 2010; a pedestrian sound installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London; and a novella in installments for workers in a juice factory in Mexico. She lives in New York City.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781566893541
ISBN-10: 1566893542
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014
Pages: 146
Language: English