Featured Author: Cristina Rivera Garza


We wish to thank Tusquets Editores, in the name of Alejandra Segrelles, for the authorization to publish the original versions of the stories by Cristina Rivera Garza and their respective translations in LALT No. 3. The publication rights of these stories belong exclusively to Tusquets Editores.


Works by and about Cristina Rivera Garza in LALT No. 3:


"Cristina Rivera Garza: Poetics of the Border" by Sarah Booker and Aviva Kana

"To think about Cristina Rivera Garza is to think about the experience of turning, in the sense of movement, of transformation, of beginnings. Like the experience of reading her writing, to turn back is at once a solitary and social experience. As Rivera Garza writes in The Iliac Crest, "something happens in the world when you turn back.” In her work, Rivera Garza calls you to navigate her words, her poetry, her expressions, and the borders she inhabits, inviting you to re-envision the world around you."


"Never Trust a Woman that Suffers" by Cristina Rivera Garza

"I am back already and this will be my home, my lair: 72 stairs, one wooden door painted red, a solitary key, unique. This afternoon I use it for the first time, two turns to the left, very slowly, trying to listen for the sound of the moment the bolt gives way; my welcome home. 

The light is magnificent, yellow and flickering as if a body. Through the windows it’s pouring, the rain rushes through them with unusual force, it soaks everything; but it too is serene, calm, even. It seems like this luminosity has been concentrated here for a long time, forever. I am in a nest, in the very middle of a chamber of light, seeing close up the altar of vespertine reflections."


"Spí Uñieey Mat" by Cristina Rivera Garza

"It isn’t a good idea to repeatedly ask yourself why you live in an estuary. Upon doing so, upon asking yourself so many times, moreover if you do so before a mirror, it’s very likely that you’ll end up, sooner rather than later, without any answer at all. A gaping mouth. Blank eyes. The sky filled entirely with blue. Why do we live, after all, in any place in particular? It is, without a doubt, the lack of an answer, that particular lack of an answer that occurs when a question has been fruitlessly articulated many times, that provoke phrases like this: “Because in estuaries you can find the coexistence of three types of producers that carry out the process of photosynthesis: macrophytes (algae, seagrasses, and marsh grasses); benthic microphytes (algae and other types of plants connected to the river bed); and phytoplankton (microscopic algae). That’s why I live here, naturally.” And then, opening the little cabin window to look out, once more, upon all this, feels essential. The word is aestuarium. The word that means “under the influence of the tides.”"


"There is also Beauty in Alienation" by Cristina Rivera Garza

"I answered the ad in the paper at the end of February. Barely two months into the New Year and I already knew that with my forced diet of sunflower seeds, rye bread, and raw vegetables I wouldn’t survive the winter. Someone had left the classified ads on the floor and there, in tiny black letters, half in Spanish and half in English, was the name of my future, or that’s what I thought when I flew down the stairs, opened the door and ran to the closest public phone."


"The Hostage" by Cristina Rivera Garza

"The ring he wore on his right hand caught my attention: a thick gold band speckled with small diamonds. It was flashy and feminine, and on the hand of the man seated in the next row, not far from me, it seemed out of place. His neat loafers. The perfect crease in his wool pants. His corduroy jacket. His neck. His clean-shaven face. I averted my eyes only when I realized he was crying. The shock of it: seeing a man cry. He rested his head on his left hand, no doubt trying to cover his face, but it didn’t prevent me from noticing the dampness around his eyes, the vertical trail of his tears. I pretended to look toward the large window with the weary air of someone waiting for a late plane, when that didn’t work, I opened a book. As I tried unsuccessfully to read one of the pages, I asked myself again and again if I had put the book in my carry-on precisely for this, to pretend that I didn’t see a man crying in an almost empty airport well before dawn. Truthfully, it was all I could see. I straightened, with the intention of walking through the empty brightly-lit halls, so it surprised me when, instead of going to the right, I took a couple of steps to the left and touched his shoulder."