Review of “Plaza Requiem.”

My review of Martha Bátiz’s fine collection of stories, Plaza Requiemhas been posted up over at Literal Magazine. On this blog, I wanted to share a few thoughts that didn’t make it into the review.

Reading Bátiz’s stories, I was struck by another short story collection I’d read recently, which, for reasons that should become apparent soon, I will leave nameless. The other book, which has received a reasonable amount of critical claim, was terrible. I’d read writers gushing over it on Twitter, and other rave reviews. It was by a young, Latin American writer, who covered some of the same themes that Bátiz writes about in her collection. Yet those stories, I thought, were—with one or two exceptions—insipid.

At the same time, I’ve not seen near the same acclaim for Plaza Requiem, which is a shame. Unlike this other book, it wasn’t put out by a major publisher. But the stories—especially the ones I highlight in the review—and much more urgent, evocative, and present. They also blend horror elements, but with a much more sure, and less artificial, hand.

What I am trying to say: don’t always trust the big publishers and reviewers. There is much great fiction in many undiscovered places. There are more great writers, like Martha Bátiz, then anyone could possible read. Search them out.