• List Price: $26.95
  • Save: $1.36 (5%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided free with every order. Good condition. Some wear to cover and edges, possibly small creases. Ex-library book with typical library markings.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Last Reader (THE AMERICAS) Hardcover – October 22, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0896726642 ISBN-10: 0896726649

Buy New
Price: $25.59
12 New from $13.88 23 Used from $1.94
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$13.88 $1.94
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Series: THE AMERICAS
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press (October 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896726649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896726642
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,522,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his third novel translated into English, Mexican writer Toscana (Tula Station) dissolves the line between interior and exterior life with challenging results. In the small, drought-ridden town of Icamole, young Remigio discovers a dead girl in his well. Before anyone finds out, Remigio's father, Lucio, a librarian who ties everything back to the novels he's read, convinces Remigio to bury the girl under their avocado tree and say nothing, even as authorities wander into town, making tepid inquiries. Toscana meanders through the psychological consequences of the plan, moving in and out of the real world in paragraphs that run on for pages, penetrating the veil of Lucio's literary fetishes, brutality and death foremost among them (he tosses books he doesn't like in a room to be devoured by cockroaches). Letting go of familiar touchstones like plot, character and structure, this dense stream-of-consciousness narrative raises many resonant questions, but can be a chore to navigate. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Deserves to join the ranks of the great Latin American authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Amado. - New York Times Book Review Introduces American readers to a gifted writer who seems poised to inherit the postmodernist mantle of Carlos Fuentes. - Kirkus Reviews"

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bluestalking Reader VINE VOICE on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Nobody else shared his interest... by the time opening day of the library came, the people were full of arguments against books: books are concerned with things that don't exist, they are lies. If I put my hands near the fire, one man said, I get burned; if I stick myself with a knife, I bleed; if I drink tequila, I get drunk; but a book does nothing to me unless you throw it in my face. Others laughed at this sally, and the matter was settled."

- from The Last Reader

In the tiny village of Icamole, Mexico it hasn't rained for a year. The locals do their best to scratch out a living, relying on water delivery from a nearby town located on a mountain ridge that seems to always stop rain from reaching Icamole. Life there is understandably difficult.

When a beautiful young girl from a nearby village is found murdered in the bottom of a young man's well he is mystified, not just at how she got there, but also by her perfect beauty. Remigio, who owns the land, is the son of Lucio the town librarian. After he retrieves the body and lays it out in a more dignified manner, he hurries to town to ask his father what to do.

Lucio, who like Don Quixote, lives his life through the books he reads, immediately refers to this young girl as Babette, comparing her to a similar character in a book he's read. He tells his son to bury her beneath his avocado tree, letting her body become one with the roots. It's a romantic notion he picked up from one of his favorite novels.

Lucio, working unpaid in a position that doesn't officially exist anymore (the officials had stopped paying him months ago), is the town's sole reader, working his way through boxes of books still arriving from who knows where.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Mary on January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was quite possibly the most engaging text I read in 2013. As a I result of reading this book, I purchased two other books by Toscana and have begun reading them. Remarkable writer. Experienced, believable storyteller.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
A tale of an obsessive reader of fiction and a corpse in small-town Mexico, this love song to literature hardly lifts the spirit. It is told in a dreary continuous present. (The protagonist describes the novel form as 'the permanent present' (p114), though poetry or film would make better candidates.) No doubt it worked better in Spanish. Despite Toscana's claims through his protagonist for 'literature' as clarion truth-teller ('literature condemns' p144) the imaginary novels he evokes cannot but sound clunky because, of necessity, we are shown plot, not style. Is irony intended? It is not clear, unlike the claustrophobic nature of small-town life, which is. Best rendition: 'rivulet of manure' (p138); worst 'their deep-green color obviates such an allusion' (p142) in a tie with 'He does not realize that his effort to save lives scarcely suffices for prolonging the existence of the condemned ones, who necessarily end up loving one another, and so what was previously resignation evolves with time into tragedy.' But page 141 and pages 153-7 raise the bar (read 'em!), I think I detected a joke on p177-8, and the ending's perfect. The last page also has the last word on narrative: 'in bed there is no bad prose'. If only it was all up to that level!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By G. Morgan on September 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This charming book is about the relationship between stories and reality. The body of a girl is found at the bottom of a village well. The background to the girl's death is interpreted for us by Lucio, the village librarian, through the medium of the books he has read. We cannot know whether his explanations truly describe what happened. Indeed, it's doubtful whether he is really in a position to know. But his storytelling shapes the narrative just as stories shape the reality we live in. In that sense, Lucio is the Ultimate Reader (which could be an alternative translation of the book's Spanish title).

We grow up with stories about the society and culture we live in. We hear and absorb stories told by our friends, by strangers, and by institutions such as news media. Some stories are deliberately crafted in order to guide and shape our perception of reality. With other stories, the influence on our perception is more by accident. The stories that have influenced us over the years affect how we perceive and interpret our own experiences and the actions of others.

Lucio weaves the story of the dead girl from various strands of village society, and from Mexico more broadly. The man who finds the body in his well does not inform the police, perhaps because he fears that he, too, would suffer the fate that another man, also innocent of the crime, later suffers in Lucio's story. The girl's mother comes to accept the girl's death because she finds Lucio's story powerful. Or perhaps she is merely another imaginary element of Lucio's story.

The language of the English translation is lyrical and light. This slim volume provides a fun afternoon of reading, and many hours of reflection on how our lives are driven by stories .
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce_in_LA on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I would normally only post a real book review but if I can be granted a "pass," those who come to this page may well be interested in knowing that the author published a long essay on the decline of reading in Mexico, in the NY Times on March 5, 2013. He noted that Mexico was 108th on a list of countries where people read things (other than street signs). He gives a speech to an audience of 300 14 year olds, who likes to read? One hand goes up. He asks, of five other students, why DON'T you like to read? No one, he says, could form an idea, string words together, or give a coherent answer. He wanders about during a massive teacher strike, with hundreds of people sunning themselves, and not one is reading a book. His essay is called, The Country That Stopped Reading.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?