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The House of the Pain of Others

Chronicle of a Small Genocide
Julián Herbert; Translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
Early in the twentieth century, amid the myths of progress and modernity that underpinned Mexico’s ruling party, some three hundred Chinese immigrants—close to half of the Cantonese residents of the newly founded city of Torreón—were massacred over the course of three days. It is considered the largest slaughter of Chinese people in the history of the Americas, an attempted extermination that was followed by denial or empty statements of regret. The massacre reverberated briefly before fading from collective memory. More than a century later, the facts continue to be elusive, mistaken, and repressed.

“And what do you know about the Chinese people who were killed here?” Julián Herbert asks anyone who will listen. An exorcism of persistent and discomfiting ghosts, The House of the Pain of Others attempts a reckoning with the 1911 massacre. Blending reportage, personal reflection, essay, and academic treatise, Herbert talks to taxi drivers and historians, travels to the scene of the crime, and digs deep into archives that contain conflicting testimony. Looping, digressive, and cinematic, this crónica vividly portrays the historical context as well as the lives of the perpetrators and victims of the “small genocide.” It is a distinctly twenty-first-century sort of Western, a tremendous literary performance that extends and enlarges the accomplishments of a significant international writer.
 

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-837-2
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
304
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
A brilliant work of historical excavation with profound echoes in an age redolent with violence and xenophobia
 

About the Author

Julián  Herbert
Credit: Ignacio Valdez

Julián Herbert was born in Acapulco in 1971. He is a writer, musician, and teacher, and is the author of several poetry collections, a novel, and a story collection, as well as a book of reportage. He lives in Saltillo, Mexico.
 

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Christina MacSweeney is the translator of Tomb Song, and has published translations, articles, and interviews on a wide variety of platforms and contributed to several anthologies. She was awarded the 2016 Valle Inclán Translation Prize for her translation of Valeria Luiselli's The Story of My Teeth. She lives in England.
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