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The much-anticipated English-language debut of “one of the most original and entertaining voices of contemporary Mexican literature” (Revista Gatopardo): a collection of surreal, ironic, and madcap stories about the comedy and brutal tragedies of life in Mexico.
The provocateur and cult sensation Carlos Velázquez has earned comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, and William S. Burroughs, and has been called “a grand storyteller” (Diario Jornada), “an icon” (Frente), and “one of the most original and entertaining voices of contemporary Mexican literature” (Revista Gatopardo). His English-language debut, a collection of seven surreal, unrelentingly ironic, and unsettling tales, portrays the comedy and brutal tragedies of a region that occupies a unique place in the North American imagination.
Akin to Márquez’s Macondo or Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, PopSTock! is a fictional northern Mexican territory where Velázquez’s stories take place. In addition to their common setting, central to each of these stories is the The Cowboy Bible–a magical object that can drastically change shape. The Cowboy Bible first appears as the talisman of a Santería-practicing luchador, DJ, and art critic, but later morphs into an unbeatable marathon drinker, a reality television show in which contestants must burn pirated CDs at top speed, and the leather for a pair of boots so coveted that it leads a man to grant the devil a night with his wife. With these otherworldly scenarios, pop culture references, and Velázquez’s linguistic inventiveness, The Cowboy Bible is a brazen social and political commentary on modern Mexican reality.
Born in Coahuila, Mexico in 1978, Carlos Velázquez is the author of story collections Cuco Sánchez blues (2004), La biblia vaquera (named one of the books of the year by Reforma in 2009), and La marrana negra de la literatura rosa (2010). He received the Premio Nacional de Cuento Magdalena Mondragón and has been anthologized in el Fondo de Cultura Económica’s Anuario de poesia mexicana 2007.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Achy Obejas has written fiction, poetry, and journalism. She is the author of five books, including three novels: Days of Awe, Memory Mambo, and Ruins. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical favorite and a bestseller. She is trained as a journalist and has worked in the alternative press, including InThese Times, where she writes a monthly column, and The Chicago Tribune. A translator between Spanish and English, she translated into Spanish Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her and into English such contemporary Latin American writers as Rita Indiana, F. G. Haghenbeck ,and Wendy Guerra. She is the recipient of a USA Ford Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship, a team Pulitzer Prize for the series “Gateway to Gridlock” while at the Tribune, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, the Studs Terkel Journalism Award, and a Cintas Foundation Fellowship. She is currently the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California.