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Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City Paperback – October 9, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Though designated as an autobiography, filmmaker, photographer, and translator Kurt Hollander’s foray into documentary nonfiction is part geopolitical report, part historical survey, part personal essay. Hollander embellishes his many, many grotesque encounters and close calls with death from inside a culture known to celebrate the Great Beyond, complete with glossy prints of Hollander’s photographs, from smog-smothered skyline panoramas to makeshift gravestones along highways and light poles, to provocative images of Catholic statuary. The most riveting chapters saturate the everyday with inescapable fatality, not just Hollander’s own but also that of a people subjected to a series of unfortunate ironies. Mexico’s foremost metropolis is erected on the ruins of prehistorical Tenochtitlan and is sinking into the earth at a visibly measurable rate. Brand-new Walmarts displace local Mexican markets, whose workers flee north only to end up working as undocumented immigrants at Walmarts in New Mexico. Despite its desert environs, Mexico City suffers recurrent floods, haunted by Lake Texcoco. Death, according to Hollander, pervades the Mexican capital in myriad, imminent, occasionally entertaining forms. --Diego Báez

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" (We can) thank Kurt Hollander for leading us through a city in which many would not have the heart, lungs, stomach, or street smarts to survive.” - New York Journal of Books

"Hollander’s history of Mexican food and alcohol—from Aztec pulque to present-day Coronas—and his analysis of Mexico City’s tap water are brilliant, even if his narration frequently meanders away to other Mexican curiosities. In a city so teeming with interconnected life, who can blame him?" -Daily Beast

"Several Ways to Die in Mexico City stumbled into my lap and changed the way I think about what I eat and drink." - Mythili G. Rao, Hot Reads Blog
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936239485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936239481
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
...who pioneered the "essay," or attempt, is this book-length attempt to understand not only a city, but its effect on the writer and others who live there. The cool, and difficult, thing about nonfiction is that there is a person behind it, and the author's quirks, obsessions, research patterns, and personal history combine to build the engine that drives this collection. People who like bow-decorated epiphanies or have a set idea about how a nonfiction narrative should work may get impatient, and the final draft could have benefitted from a copy editor, but anyone curious about the world and ready to spend a couple of afternoons in good company will love this book. What's unresolved at the center of the book is not the writer's fate (everyone dies, he admits), but his role in the changing neighborhood and city he loves. When the kind of people who patronized his nightclub (and who will probably buy his book) start moving into a neighborhood, rents rise and the "authentic" culture he admires is threatened. There is so much to think about surrounding this issue! I went straight from this book back to my copy of Yi-Fu Tuan's "Morality and Imagination." It would be great to lock these two writers in an elevator and record the conversation...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hollander makes an awesome journey throughout the formation of Mexico City, from precolonial times to modern days, he brings an outsiders look to the development of one of the worlds biggest cities, and indubitably one of the most complex sociological structures in latin america.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to learn about Mexico. It certainly meets my expectations on that point. Easy to read and packed with interesting, historic, social and scientific details, the author is clearly passionate about Mexico City and provides vivid first hand accounts of life, love and suffering in his adopted megalopolis. While the fixation on death is a tad depressing, reality is not always uplifting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just returned from a trip to Mexico City and I must say that had I read this before the trip, I may have thought twice about going! After reading this, I want to go back; there are so many things about Mexico City that are so scary and wonderful at the same time and this book really brings it all into perspective! Viva la Vida!!
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