Many Mexicos: A Literary Landscape
On September 17, 2007 the Mexico Institute welcomed author and literary translator C.M. Mayo to discuss her widely-lauded anthology, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, a collection of fiction and literary prose. C.M. Mayo noted that it is surprising that there are so few translations of Mexican literary work, especially considering the proximity of the two countries and the many cultural linkages that exist between them. It was precisely the lack of access to Mexican literary work in the English speaking market that motivated Mayo to translate and publish Mexican literature.
Mayo introduced the publication by highlighting that it is not a guidebook, but rather a compilation of twenty-four writers and seventeen translators that allow the reader to travel throughout Mexico's diverse literary and geographic landscape. In creating Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, Mayo looked beyond the literary circles of Mexico City in order to obtain a sampling of Mexican writing that was representative of Mexico's diverse society. She wanted to reflect the richness and the complexity of the Mexican literary scene by strategically incorporating both well-known and lesser known authors.
The compilation includes articles that show factions of society that lie outside the popular image of Mexican culture. Juan Villoro's depiction of the niños bien in One-Way Street highlighted the punk rock lifestyle of upper middle class teenagers Mexico City's exclusive Pedregal neighborhood. According Mayo, the incorporation of such stories drew some controversy because the storyline and the characters defied some deeply imbedded stereotypes of what Mexico is. She went on to state that many foreign readers do not realize that Mexico is actually very ethnically diverse. Her work hopes expose an international audience to the richness of Mexican fiction and literary prose.