Red ash, book about the grim mourning process, the best of 2022

Almost three years after the start of a pandemic, printed books in the Spanish language had a profitable presence in the market with a positive balance.

The Spanish, Argentine, Chilean, Peruvian and Mexican imprints —the main publishing areas in Spanish— continued to bet on the Ebook format.

La Razón presented a summary of the best publications that appeared in Mexico in the course of these twelve months.

We reviewed the columns El Convite/Las Claves —published in that newspaper— and established a dialogue with writers, booksellers and printers to form technical opinions in balance with the report of readers: our point of view established precisions.

It is a compendium of publications that set trends for aesthetic values ​​during 2022. They are titles that left their mark for their literary quality, not for sales volume or popularity.

red ash

Help Venegas. Diary. Foam Pages

Socorro Venegas found a notebook that she had written 23 years ago after the death of her first husband, the birth of Red Ash: a log of memories of a woman unaffected by the pain of loss wrapped up in the spirit of survival, who has seen the death of the beloved man in her arms. Diary covered by a cautious poetic look in which imprints of memories are weaving the misty process of mourning in oscillations of the chance of waiting and the search for hope in written solitude. Frankness traverses the spirals of brokenness in these pages: consonances of quiet music —mute, fragile, orphaned— in the gradations of “cold, metallic nights” pulsed by the absence of a loved one. Illustrations by Gabriel Pacheco: portraits of the silences of pain.

The weight of living on earth

David Tuscany. Novel. alfaguara

Playful tribute to Russian literature. Characters covered by the random desire for adventure. Leafy itinerary of references, quotes and nods to novels, lyrical texts and stories from the significant legacy of Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Babel… A plot built on the death of the three Soviet cosmonauts from the Sályut space station in 1971 Nicolás changes his name to Nikolai Nikolaevich and with a few accomplices prepares a ‘trip’ to represent his own ‘launch into orbit’: evasion of his circumstance until cracking the borders between fiction and reality.

Sometimes I wake up shaking

Ximena Santaolalla. Novel. Random House

Mauricio Achar Random House Literature Award 2021 that addresses the aftermath of the training of elite militiamen through thirteen characters, who were protagonists and/or victims of the violence of the Guatemalan kaibiles during the bloody dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt. Episodes of how the State trained these soldiers with the aim of dehumanizing them until they became unscrupulous people and encouraging them to repress and terrorize the civilian population.

the weak minded

Ariana Harwicz. Novel. Dharma Books

The weak-minded, second novel of the “involuntary trilogy” that Harwicz has made up with Mátame amor and Precoz. Delirious first-person narration overflowing with bars, verbal imprints, dizziness and spiritual exaltations. Strange fable of concomitances with John Cage and contiguities with Samuel Beckett, Lautréamont and free jazz.

Crystal, irony and God

Anne Carson. Poetry. Broken glass

The Canadian poet Anne Carson in another notebook with an insightful look at the feminine. Ingenious atlas imbued with ironic impressions that converse with Aeschylus, Homer, Aristophanes, Aristotle. Thinking the world under the canvas of classical allegories, metaphysics and sequels of readings. Endearing whispers: voice that illuminates the dark and unexplored tunnels of being. Imaginative and rhythmic translation by Jeannette L. Clariond.

ash in the mouth

Brenda Navarro. Novel. Sixth floor

Novel that narrates a crusade marked by emotional imprints in the spaces of abandonment, fury, eagerness, loss, exile, xenophobia, inequality, mourning and disappointment. Incisive, oscillating, devastating and visceral narrative discourse wrapped in a lyricism of heartrending beauty. Brenda Navarro breaks into the Mexican narrative in a convincing way.

My God does not see

Raul Zurita. Poetry, essay, autobiography. Broken glass

Notebook of the great Chilean poet Raúl Zurita: a journey through his lyrical and essayistic work in an edition by Héctor Hernández Montesino. Texts of earthly vibrations, of imaginative devotion, of disturbing images, of hallucinating registers, of sinuous spellings and dreams wrapped by chords of dancing winds. The author of Anteparaíso in all the coordinates of his naked telluric solitude.


Gabriela Jauregui. Novel. Sixth floor

Turbulent narrative discourse framed in a tension in which the retrospective is connected, spliced, with the future. Feral and wild after domestication: wild state that explains the shattered images of the present. Leaving the dream to walk the dark passageways of the galleries of time. Jáuregui delivers a novel in which language is testimony and resistance.

allegiance to the ghost

Enrique Serna. Tale. alfaguara

Seven stories that explore macho gestures, moral dilemmas and temptations; display of erotic stripes, idolatry and hatred. Account inhabited by characters possessed and stalked by supernatural forces that violate the routine gestures of their lives. Don Juanism, eroticism, double standards, desire and, above all, the arrogance of masculinity ridiculed from the appeal to irony. Accurate drawing of tragicomic passions.


Ephraim Bartholomew. Poetry. Autonomous University of Queretaro

“Here and from here I prepare to leave // ​​I lived long enough and perhaps more // I retire from the world // I am going to be born and this is my farewell”: writes the poet Efraín Bartolomé in this collection of poems-journey that begins in ” the house of childhood” and goes into the “I enjoy the rumor of the water” and in “the zones of silence”. Stanzas written with blood or light from the words of the Goddess in search of dazzling hallucination.

The banality of cruel men

Norm Lazo. Novel. lumen

Novel whose plot elucidates through incidents carried out by characters escorted by abandonment, fragility, anguish and nostalgia. Fabulations interwoven with moments of confinement, torture, brokenness and fanaticism in three different countries and times. Chronicle of three existences linked by the presence of human cruelty and lurking loneliness in dialogue with the unfortunate.

the tears of things

Jeannette L. Clariond. Poetry. New York Poetry Press

Winning poem of the 2020 Enriqueta Ochoa National Poetry Prize. Crossroads sprayed by a voice that senses “The dream already narrated” and decides to enter the corners of the imagination to accentuate that “In every light that dies another light is born.” Echoes, contours, skeins, and mists: harmonies in harmony with clemency of glances in “the solitudes of love, the solitudes of pain.” Cadences where time burns in the spiral of the “sweetest heart of autumn”.

barber shop and lettering

Juan Pablo Villalobos. Novel. Anagram

“Nothing in this book is true, except what is”, a warning inscribed on the portico of this novel in which the hilarious has been taken to extremes in a conjunction of reviews coinciding with the author’s life. Literary artifact adjacent to the ‘comedy of circumstances’: incidents that flourish chained to paradoxical and even absurd imprints. Festive (non) autofiction, which resorts to some of the genre’s schemes with the purpose of snubbing them.

reserve bitches

Dahlia de la Cerda. Tale. Sixth floor

Winning notebook of the Comala 2019 National Young Short Story Award. Thirteen stories in which the protagonists face the difficulties and risks derived from their condition of being born women. Chance and experiences told in the first person narrative: orality wrapped up in poignant humor. Lucky episodes marked by misfortunes in the search for a possible manumission with life. Powerful literary debut.

Red ash, book about the grim mourning process, the best of 2022