The Wall

At the south-east edge of San Diego, a lonely district dominated by cross-border trucking abruptly gives way to desert scrubland. Three layers of fence abutting the Mexican city of Tijuana become two; if you follow a dirt road east for a mile, the second fence of steel mesh also ends, leaving just the original eight-foot […]

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Juan Villoro – The Reef

Juan Villoro’s first work of fiction to be translated into English, The Guilty (2015), features seven short stories narrated by seven middle-aged men. The men are all very tired: jaded, often reduced by past or dormant addictions, or physically injured in ways both mundane and dramatic (a past-it journeyman footballer’s “body isn’t normal, it’s a kicked-in lump”, […]

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2 Books by César Aira

The Proof, written in 1989, opens with a nerdy 16-year-old girl walking at dusk down a city street thronged with other teenagers. Marcia feels herself slowing down ‘through the soft resistance of the light and darkness, silence and the glances exchanged between face and face’. Suddenly, she is crudely accosted by two lesbian ‘punks’. The […]

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Howard Jacobson – Pussy

Is Donald Trump immune to satire? He must be one of the most widely and fiercely lampooned people of all time; indeed, his entire life can be seen as a one-man war of attrition against the forces of irony. His fortunes are not damaged by it. In fact it’s a war he keeps winning. After […]

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The Macho Gringo

“I must say that one of the actors I hate most in the world is John Wayne”, Homero Aridjis digressed. “A macho hero, killing Indians, pushing women around – I can’t stand this character: the macho gringo.” And the macho gringo is now occupying the White House. (In the words of Octavio Paz: “the macho […]

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Inauguration

Kevin McCarty and Brandon Bourg were light-hearted and beaming, having made it up from Lafayette, Louisiana, to their nation’s capital. Close friends, twenty-four and twenty-one, an oil worker and a law student, neither of them bad-looking (gym-bulky), they held the hottest tickets in town for young Trump supporters like themselves: to the “Deplorables’ Inaugural Ball”. […]

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Mar-a-Lago, Christmas Morning

There’s the service entrance, with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office cruiser, and deputies with whistles controlling traffic, and the Sheriff’s Office watchtower, and across the street from it the new, extra parking lot, where the guests of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s private club in Florida, queue up to have their vehicles searched for bombs by […]

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