Expats have been drawn to Mexico for decades for a variety of reasons, and now over 1.3 million are currently living full- or part-time in the country. Mexico seems to bring out the creativity of those who live here. Here are 8 books by expats in Mexico you must read to capture the essence of living here.
“First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century” by David Lida
American journalist David Lida moved to Mexico City in the early ‘90s and quickly began calling it home. In “First Stop in the New World,” Lida offers a compelling factual account into Mexican culture. He has a keen eye as well as an in-depth knowledge of the city and divides his account across the different elements of Mexican life from strip clubs to street food.
“El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City” by John Ross
The epic tale of Mexico City spanning 5,000 years of history, “El Monstruo” was Ross’s final book and an attempt to incorporate the quarter-century he spent in the city into a cohesive narrative. As a factual book Ross lacks the journalistic ethic favoured by Lida, but his book’s narrative power and evocative writing conjures up a city you almost can’t believe exists.
“Oh Mexico!: Love and Adventure in Mexico City” by Lucy Neville
This humorous memoir is about the experiences of the author as a young Australian moving to Mexico City to teach English. It’s packed full of amusing tales and a witty style that keeps you turning pages. Neville’s insights into Mexican culture are valuable and entertaining, and her experiences become fantastic anecdotes in her prose.
“Mexico, A Love Story: Women Write About the Mexican Experience” edited by Camille Cusumano
This compendium of short stories encompasses the experiences of a diverse group of women, and offers a huge amount of depth and breadth for the reader to explore. It’s so easy to dip in and out of this book as each account is less than 15 pages long – bite size visits to Mexico that will leave you wanting more.
“The View from Casa Chepitos: A Journey Beyond the Border” by Judith Gille
Gille takes a look at how cross-cultural relationships can be built by mutual understanding and respect, something that Mexico and its northern neighbors could use a little more of in 2020. Following Gille and her Seattle-based family’s spontaneous move to San Miguel de Allende, this book offers a look into Mexican culture, and explains how you can integrate into the local community.
“One Life” by David Lida
Lida already made the list for his compelling journalistic work, but in this book he explores the dark side of Mexico through the prism of a gritty thriller. Following Richard, an American expat, the novel moves from border town Juarez to Michoacán as the protagonist becomes ever deeper lost in the perils of the rural Mexican poor. Lida’s gripping prose makes “One Life” a page turner with a moral heart.
“Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry
British novelist Malcolm Lowry wrote “Under the Volcano” in 1947, exploring Mexico in a different period. The novel traces the last day of an alcoholic aristocrat working in the British Consul, and in a nod to Joyce’s Ulysses, the action of the book takes place all in one day: November 1, Dia de los Muertos. Lowry was well embedded in Mexican society in his day and his portrayal of Mexico in the ‘40s is intimate and vivid.
“The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle” by Francisco Goldman
Mexican-American Goldman interweaves personal tragedy with a gripping account of the violence that crime and corruption inflicts on the Mexican population. By reporting on a mass murder while recovering from the death of his partner in a devastating accident, Goldman combines the political with the personal to provide a gripping read that spans contemporary Mexican society.