Faces in the Crowd | Granta

  • Published: 03/05/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847085580
  • Granta Books
  • 160 pages

Faces in the Crowd

Valeria Luiselli

Translated by Christina MacSweeney

In the heart of Mexico City a woman, trapped in a house and a marriage she can neither fully inhabit nor abandon, thinks about her past.She has decided to write a novel about her days at a publishing house in New York; about the strangers who became lovers and the poets and ghosts who once lived in her neighbourhood. In particular, one of the obsessions of her youth – Gilberto Owen – an obscure Mexican poet of the 1920s, a marginal figure of the Harlem Renaissance, a busker on Manhattan’s subway platforms, a friend and an enemy of Federico García Lorca.

As she writes, Gilberto Owen comes to life on the page: a solitary, faceless man living on the edges of Harlem’s writing and drinking circles at the beginning of the Great Depression, haunted by the ghostly image of a woman travelling on the New York subway. Mutually distorting mirrors, their two lives connect across the decades between them, forming a single elegy of love and loss.

Valeria Luiselli is a precociously masterful, entirely original writer

Francisco Goldman

A young Mexican author with seemingly boundless intellect... There are echoes of García Márquez's Strange Pilgrims; Bolaño, Hemingway and Emily Dickinson are all freely cited... Luminous

Catherine Taylor, Guardian

Spare, strange and beautiful... an extraordinary new literary talent

Hermione Hoby, Daily Telegraph

The Author

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.

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Valeria Luiselli, published her most recent novel, The Story of My Teeth, last month. She shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

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‘Perhaps it is the way he’s able to delicately tap into the most disturbing layers of reality and turn our conception of what is normal inside out. Perhaps it’s because he’s always telling a deeper, sadder, more disquieting story while pretending to narrate another.’