The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle (Mexico City Chronicles)

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9780802122568: The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle (Mexico City Chronicles)

Coming off the most successful book of a decorated career Say Her Name The Interior Circuit is Francisco Goldman’s timely and provocative journey into the heart of Mexico City.

The Interior Circuit is Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. This is the chronicle of an awakening, both personal and political, interior” and exterior,” to the meaning and responsibilities of home. Mexico’s narco war rages on and, with the restoration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the PRI) to power in the summer’s 2012 elections, the DF’s special apartness seems threatened. In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world’s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities.

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About the Author:

Francisco Goldman is the author of the novels: Say Her Name; The Long Night of White Chickens, winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction; The Ordinary Seaman, a finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and The Divine Husband. His last book of non-fiction, The Art of Political Murder, was awarded the Index on Censorship’s TR Fyvel Freedom of Expression Book Award.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Vivimos adentro de una burbuja, we live inside a bubble,” I’m always hearing people in the DF say, a remarkable thing for those residing inside one the world’s largest and reputedly most dire metropolises to be saying. People sense the entire country collapsing, even vanishing, around them, becoming, as one friend put it, an anti-country.” The plague of terror, chaos and murder is as close as just beyond the city’s borders, already having consumed large parts of Mexico State and its most populous municipalities. Though narco shoot-outs, executions and the like do occasionally occur, perhaps even with more frequency than the great majority of us realize, why has the DF so far been relatively immune? Is it only because the city isn’t on a major drug trafficking route, or because of the relative ubiquity of its police forces and surveillance cameras, or because it is a big enough drug consumption market on its own that it’s just good business to keep it relatively calm and prosperous? Those are commonly heard hypothesis, but are there more conspiratorial reasons? I sometimes imagine that the cartels have been sent the message that if they don’t want U.S. Navy Seals and drone-fired missiles hunting down their capos and blowing-up their mountain and desert ranch hideouts and sicario caravans a nauseating solution, even if it were a solution, which it surely wouldn’t be -- then they should stay out of the DF, the nation’s economic vital organ and political and media capitol, but I have no proof that there is any truth to that, it’s just one of those paranoid imaginings. What will happen now? Peña Nieto has surrounded himself with what some regard as an experienced and capable cabinet, a mix of PRI dinosaurs” and new” technocrats like those that have filled every Mexican presidential cabinet since the dawn of the technocrat vogue under Carlos Salinas. Will the PRI go back to dealing with the cartels as it is said to have before, making pacts that benefit both sides, going in as partners as it were, tamping things down for the time being at least? I don’t know. I sometimes fear, it being a given that the PRI will do whatever they can to undermine their PRD rivals before the next elections, with many now predicting that the party has a chance to produce the country’s next president, probably Ebrard, then why not send some cartel-style bedlam into the PRD bastion and explode that bubble”? Send in beheadings, corpses hung from highway overpasses, massacres in nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centers, extortion rackets against small business owners, kidnap adolescent girls from bus stops to sell into prostitution-slavery rings in Mexico and abroad, or simply to rape and murder them, bring some of that heavy Medusan poison in directly from Peña Nieto’s Mexico State, where cartels operate with near total impunity, especially La Familia Michoacana and the Zetas. Of course that’s just more paranoia, right? Wouldn’t that be a self-defeating strategy for the PRI, given the resulting inevitable damage to the national economy and to many of Mexico’s wealthiest citizens and interests? The PRI would do better to at least create the appearance of bringing the country’s violence and corruption under control. But how will the PRI or anyone else subdue the Zetas, Mexico’s most organized and dangerous group of assassins,” as they’ve been understatedly defined by the U.S. DEA, crime monopolists who seem to have lifted satanic self-interest and sadistic self-indulgence to a level hardly seen before in the world? Let go of one thing, you let go of the adjoining, and of the adjoining There is a feeling that the lawlessness has spread too widely and too deeply now for anyone, even El Chapo Guzman, to reverse it.

***

If you don’t have people using the city’s public spaces, if the public spaces can’t be enjoyed, then you don’t have a city,” Marcelo Ebrard told me when I spoke to him in the spring of 2013. You have to create conditions so that people feel that they’re part of a community. If you don’t do that, the city doesn’t work.” The winter skating rink in the Zocalo with skates provided for free may not sound like such a big deal, but one only has to see the long lines of parents with children waiting their turn to grasp what it could mean for a child from the city slums to ice-skate for the first time, and for a parent to be able to provide that experience. Mexico’s paleontologists were invited to mount a dinosaur exhibit in the Zocalo, and a temporary wooden gallery was built to shelter the huge prehistoric skeletons and other displays. Six public swimming pool beaches were installed around the city with sand trucked in from Veracruz for poor children who may have never even seen the ocean. The exhibit of Rodins and Dalis in the Faro del Oriente in the poor colonia of Itztapalapa defied, said Ebrard, the idea that beauty has become classist.” The exhibit broke city attendance records. More than three hundred new children’s playgrounds in the parks, and outdoor modular gyms. The free concerts that brought the likes of Paul McCartney, Justin Biebber, Brittney Spears and Shakira to the Zocalo. The musical and theater performances in poor neighborhoods. The city’s museums open late and free one night a week. The incredibly popular and inexpensive (in pesos less than twenty-five dollars a year) bike sharing program, sprouting up in one neighborhood after another, including the Centro, though not yet in neighborhoods like Itzapalapa; bike lanes all over the place; major avenues closed off for Sunday biking; late night group rides; the DF, its traffic hardly hospitable to bicyclers, has nevertheless gone mad for bicycling.

***

The Colonia Roma apartment that I rented at the start of the summer is on the sixth floor, overlooking the Plaza Rio de Janiero, its living-room window offering a big view of sky over the tree-filled plaza and buildings on the other side. I love to watch the summer afternoon rains from that perch at the front window, especially when they are torrential, heavy and dense or lashing, diffuse lightning flashes startling the purplish-grey chilly gloom, followed by shattering thunder, and then rattling hail, otherworldly like a storm on Mars; you hear sirens wailing all over the city. But often the rains are peaceful and luscious. The rains clean the air, bringing, when they wane, the fresh scent of trees, churned earth and wet stone. Concentration and hours to write come more easily to me in the DF than anywhere else, but especially when it rains. Time in Mexico City, at least to me, seems somehow slowed down, so that days feel twice as long there as they do in New York. A mysterious energy seems to silently thrum from the ground, from restless volcanic earth, but one that is also produced, I like to think, by the pavement-pounding footsteps of the millions upon millions who labor every day in the city, by their collective breathing and all that mental scheming, life here for most being a steadfastly confronted and often brutal daily challenge, mined with potential treachery but also, in the best cases, opportunity, one sometimes hiding inside the other like in a shell game; also by love, desire, and not so secret sexual secretiveness, the air seems to silently jangle with all that, it’s like you breathe it in and feel suddenly enamored or just horny; so much energy that in the late afternoons I don’t even need coffee. The writer Juan Villoro says that all chilangos carry a seismograph inside I, like everyone else who lives here, have experienced earthquake tremors that have turned my knees to jelly -- and maybe it is partly that too that helps me to focus here, senses alert, both inwardly and outwardly. That seismograph senses more than just literal earthquakes.

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Descripción Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Coming off the most successful book of a decorated career--Say Her Name--The Interior Circuit is Francisco Goldman s timely and provocative journey into the heart of Mexico City. The Interior Circuit is Goldman s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. This is the chronicle of an awakening, both personal and political, interior and exterior, to the meaning and responsibilities of home. Mexico s narco war rages on and, with the restoration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the PRI) to power in the summer s 2012 elections, the DF s special apartness seems threatened. In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780802122568

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Descripción Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Coming off the most successful book of a decorated career--Say Her Name--The Interior Circuit is Francisco Goldman s timely and provocative journey into the heart of Mexico City. The Interior Circuit is Goldman s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. This is the chronicle of an awakening, both personal and political, interior and exterior, to the meaning and responsibilities of home. Mexico s narco war rages on and, with the restoration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the PRI) to power in the summer s 2012 elections, the DF s special apartness seems threatened. In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780802122568

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