One place where this fight won’t continue is at your local bookstore or literary festival. And those good intentions are written all over each page—to the point of acting as a constant distraction. Retracing the steps my ancestors made but in reverse—on the run not from cartels but from my own government. At the end of the day, the publishing industry turned us—my us, not Jeanine Cummins’s us—into the faceless brown masses that it so desperately wanted to humanize. Jan 31, 2020 1:30 PM. The stories you want, in one weekly newsletter. Last December, Myriam Gurba wrote a blistering piece on the website Tropics of Meta detailing how Ms. Magazine killed her fiercely negative review of the novel. To her mind it’s ignorant, and needs to be spoon-fed one-dimensional characters in order to believe that migrants are three-dimensional people. And to make that happen, they all promoted a book that they thought would sway some mythical white person: their racist uncle, a bigoted grandmother, a swing voter in Florida who voted for Obama in ’08 but switched to Trump in ’16. It’s not the first time that trying to share her love of reading with the world has caused the media mogul some headaches. American Dirt’s Mexican characters are in awe of how beautiful Mexican cities are, at how nice so many migrants are, at how everyone has such sad stories, at how many people in Mexico really are people after all. The harder people try to extricate themselves, the deeper they sink. Not in America.” Twitter users quickly called out King’s remark as being woefully out of touch with the everyday threats of violence directed against women and writers of color. This information is shared with social media, sponsorship, analytics, and other vendors or service providers. Instead, Gurba and other Latinx writers are frustrated that American Dirt, despite its cultural inaccuracies and stereotypes, is being presented as a book—no, the book—that will force people to recognize the injustices being done to Latinx people on the border and well beyond. "American Dirt" follows the fictional account of a Mexican mother and her young son as they flee violence and migrate north to America. Gurba’s critique—equally brilliant, vulgar, and vicious—pointed out multiple inaccuracies in the novel’s depiction of Mexico and explained how it reinforces some of the most harmful stereotypes about Mexico and immigrants. American Dirtfollows the journey of a mother and son fleeing Mexico for America after their entire family is murdered on the orders of a local cartel kingpin. See details. Though I’m a Latino with brown skin and a new daughter with a Spanish last name as her first name, my ancestors have been in New Mexico and South Texas for centuries. She acknowledged the criticisms and cancellation of the book tour. Who knew? When does a depiction of culture, history and identity become inauthentic? At the end of the book, when Lydia and Luca are in the desert, exhausted after their ordeal, knowing how close they are to death and how close they are to salvation, I started to feel a tightness in my chest and a tension in my jaw. To the book’s most cogent critics it doesn’t matter at all that Cummins is white. By León Krauze. Not many people have a more informed perspective on the controversy swirling around American Dirt, the wildly hyped best-selling novel about a Mexican mother and her son escaping to the United States, than Latino writer Dariel Suarez. Enter your email below to send a password reset email. Daniel Peña is an assistant professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown.He’s the author of the novel “Bang,” which explores “the symbiotic relationship between American immigration policy and the drug war in Mexico.”. Coffee House Press is scrambling to print new copies of Myriam Gurba’s Chicana memoir Mean. Upon publication, it drew raves from big media entities: NPR, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times—name a national outlet and it probably gave American Dirt a stellar review. All of these people, not to mention Cummins herself, genuinely want the world to be a better, more tolerant place. The book tour for "American Dirt" has been suspended. I don’t need a book to open my eyes to the people who need help. In her much-discussed author’s note, Cummins admits her didactic intentions. Yes, literature can change lives, open hearts, expand minds—trust me, I know. But while there are a few people out there claiming that authors should never write outside of their lived experiences, they’re mostly a fringe group. At least we’ve got people discussing the migrant experience, no? Subscribe or link your existing subscription. She received a seven-figure advance for her book, which has raised questions about how the publishing industry … , in the new York Times tore the book personally, I ’ m very removed! Realize that the undocumented students at the way Latino migrants … were within... Over each page—to the point of acting as a constant distraction debut novel, Trust me, be! Got people discussing the migrant experience, no of whom are ever going to read it then, Parul in... Expand minds—trust me, I know Z. Santos ’ s most cogent critics it doesn t. As a potential guest existing subscriber and have n't set up an account, please register for an account. 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