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Faces in the Crowd
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Coffee House Press 2014
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Description

From the author of Lost Children Archive: "Masterful...a novel in which people die many times just to wake up right where they left off."―The Paris Review

In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
"An extraordinary new literary talent."—The Daily Telegraph
"In part a portrait of the artist as a young woman, this deceptively modest-seeming, astonishingly inventive novel creates an extraordinary intimacy...Youth, from unruly student years to early motherhood and a loving marriage—and then, in the book's second half, wilder and something else altogether, the fearless, half-mad imagination of youth, I might as well call it—has rarely been so freshly, charmingly, and unforgettably portrayed. Valeria Luiselli is a masterful, entirely original writer."—Francisco Goldman
"Haunting...Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition." —Publishers Weekly

"Lovely and eccentric...peppered with arresting imagery."—The New York Times

"Reminiscent of Roberto Bolano and Andre Gide, Luiselli navigates a dynamic, ghostly world between worlds, crisscrossing fact and fiction. Few books are as sure to baffle, surprise, and reward readers as the strange, shifty experiment that is Luiselli's fiction debut."―Booklist

One of Electric Literature's 25 Best Novels of the Year
One of Largehearted Boy's Favorite Novels of the Year

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/21/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781566893558
ASIN:
B0C6V4PXDZ

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Valeria Luiselli. (2014). Faces in the Crowd. Coffee House Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Valeria Luiselli. 2014. Faces in the Crowd. Coffee House Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Valeria Luiselli, Faces in the Crowd. Coffee House Press, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Valeria Luiselli. Faces in the Crowd. Coffee House Press, 2014.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Updated:
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From the author of Lost Children Archive: "Masterful...a novel in which people die many times just to wake up right where they left off."―The Paris Review

In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
"An extraordinary new literary talent."—The Daily Telegraph
"In part a portrait of the artist as a young woman, this deceptively modest-seeming, astonishingly inventive novel creates an extraordinary intimacy...Youth, from unruly student years to early motherhood and a loving marriage—and then, in...
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From the author of Lost Children Archive: "Masterful...a novel in which people die many times just to wake up right where they left off."―The Paris Review

In Mexico City, a young mother is writing a novel of her days as a translator living in New York. In Harlem, a translator is desperate to publish the works of Gilberto Owen, an obscure Mexican poet. And in Philadelphia, Gilberto Owen recalls his friendship with Lorca, and the young woman he saw in the windows of passing trains. Valeria Luiselli's debut signals the arrival of a major international writer and an unexpected and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.
"An extraordinary new literary talent."—The Daily Telegraph
"In part a portrait of the artist as a young woman, this deceptively modest-seeming, astonishingly inventive novel creates an extraordinary intimacy...Youth, from unruly student years to early motherhood and a loving marriage—and then, in the book's second half, wilder and something else altogether, the fearless, half-mad imagination of youth, I might as well call it—has rarely been so freshly, charmingly, and unforgettably portrayed. Valeria Luiselli is a masterful, entirely original writer."—Francisco Goldman
"Haunting...Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition." —Publishers Weekly

"Lovely and eccentric...peppered with arresting imagery."—The New York Times

"Reminiscent of Roberto Bolano and Andre Gide, Luiselli navigates a dynamic, ghostly world between worlds, crisscrossing fact and fiction. Few books are as sure to baffle, surprise, and reward readers as the strange, shifty experiment that is Luiselli's fiction debut."―Booklist

One of Electric Literature's 25 Best Novels of the Year
One of Largehearted Boy's Favorite Novels of the Year
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      • content: "Faces in the Crowd, beyond its gorgeous writing and superb composition, is modest yet striking, measured yet salient."
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      • source: Publisher's Weekly
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        Starred review from February 17, 2014
        Luiselli’s haunting debut novel, about a young mother living in Mexico City who writes a novel looking back on her time spent working as a translator of obscure works at a small independent press in Harlem, erodes the concrete borders of everyday life with a beautiful, melancholy contemplation of disappearance. The woman worked at the press before she was married and had children, and her days there are marked by a willful transience and solitude, as she goes to bed with friends and memorizes poems by Frederico Garcia Lorca, Emily Dickinson, and William Carlos Williams. She becomes fixated on Gilberto Owen, a Mexican poet who had lived in Harlem at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, and she does everything she can to convince her editor to publish him. The young mother and translator blur together: as a mother, she struggles to find time to write while caring for her two children, her worktable littered with toys and diapers. The narrative then makes another turn, travelling back a century to follow Owen, who discusses poetry with Garcia Lorca and Joshua Zvorsky (a thinly veiled Louis Zukofsky), and wonders about the “echoes of people” whom he sees in the subway. He moves to Philadelphia 20 years later, lonely and going blind. Inhabited by the spectral presence of poets and a creeping desperation that branches into the psyche of the narrators, this elegant novel speaks to the transience of reality. The elusive strands of the young woman and Owen’s narratives intertwine and blur together as Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
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        April 1, 2014
        A debut novel that never lets readers forget it's a novel, toying with them on multiple levels. The Mexican author (whose essay collection, Sidewalks, is being issued concurrently in the U.S.) revels in artifice while constructing a labyrinth where memory meets lies, dead literary figures live again, and the narrative spirals through decades and various voices. Early on, it appears to be written in the voice of a female writer, perhaps an authorial stand-in, with two children (known only as "the boy" and "the baby") and a husband who keeps reading what his wife has written, wondering what is real and what isn't. Is she cheating on him? With men, or women, or both? Or is he cheating on her? She works for a New York publisher where her job is to find "books by Latin American writers worth translating or re-issuing." A book such as this one, perhaps. In the process, she becomes involved in the translation of an obscure poet (who becomes one of the novel's narrators), realizing that "the way literary recognition works, at least to a degree [is] it's all a matter of rumor, a rumor that multiplies like a virus until it becomes a collective affinity." The female narrative voice eventually alternates with that of her husband, from whom she becomes divorced (or not), and often the only way to tell who is narrating is a reference to the other. The results are fragmentary, funny, sexy, exasperating and perhaps post-postmodern, as the novel attempts to illuminate how to read a novel, or at least this one. "A horizontal novel, told vertically," it informs. "A novel that has to be told from the outside to be read from within." Though, later, it's a "vertical novel told horizontally. A story that has to be seen from below, like Manhattan from the subway." Ultimately, a novel that is no more (or less) than words on the page.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
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        May 1, 2014
        The release of Luiselli's first novel coincides with her essay collection, Sidewalks (2014). Luiselli's Mexican heritage and current residence in New York inform the setting of this lyrical tale, told from different perspectives. A woman recounts her efforts to publish an unknown Mexican poet who lived in Harlem in the 1920s; a poet in poor health counts down the days in 1950s Philadelphia. The story lines twist and shift, as they are delivered in flashbacks and fragments, including snippets of poetry, cryptic notes from the unknown poet to various confidantes, and amusing asides when the woman's husband discovers her manuscript for the very novel readers have in hand. If Luiselli's essays tend toward offhand, highbrow references to critics and culture, her fiction is shaped by sophisticated plotting, playful characterization, and mesmerizing momentum. Reminiscent of Roberto Bolao and Andr' Gide, Luiselli navigates a dynamic, ghostly world between worlds, crisscrossing fact and fiction. Few books are as sure to baffle, surprise, and reward readers as the strange, shifty experiment that is Luiselli's fiction debut.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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