My book, "Down and Delirious in Mexico City," goes on sale on February 8, 2011, in the United States. It is published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster. The subhead to the book is "The Aztec Metropolis in the 21st Century."
I'm calling it a collection of first-person reported essays charting my experiences among mostly young people in Mexico City, one of the very few largest of megacities in the world and in history. The book is a mix of journalism, memoir, and the essay form. Here is the table of contents, chapters only:
PART I: ASSIMILATIONS
1 Guadalupe’s Test
2 Points of Arrival
3 La Banda
PART II: TENSIONS
4 Fashion & Fascimile
5 The Warriors
6 The Lake of Fire
8 The Delinquent Is Us
PART III: TAKING CHANCES
9 A Feathered Serpent in Burberry Shades
10 Negotiating Saints
11 Originals of Punk
12 Attack of the Sweat Lodge
13 Death by Decadence
PART IV: MUTATIONS
14 At Home
15 The Seven Muses of Mexico City
Throughout, I address a bunch of interlocking issues and themes, such as aesthetics and visual culture, including fashion and 'tribal' wear; gender and sexuality; drug-use and addiction; globalization and transnational cultures, such as cholo, emo, sonidero, and punk; political corruption; neo-indigenism and mythology; cults; race and class conflicts; urbanism and public space; violence, fear, and death. Some sections are historical, some are analytical and argumentative, some are personal.
In October, I got the the coolest note on the book that I could imagine, from a colleague at the L.A. Times, Richard Fausset. I asked Fausset recently if it was OK for me to share his note with you and he agreed:
I finished your book a few days ago. I love the way it escapes any easy categories -- part cultural anthropology, part Bret Easton Ellisish memoir of youth, part Borroughsian down-and-out gutter reporting, part glimmer and glam, part science-fiction fantasia. I loved hearing the voices and reading the descriptions of the many modern Mexicans who don't fit the mold of drug mules or victims of narco-violence -- trust me, from up here, it's a rare and refreshing change. I loved the brief discussion of the middle-class mestizos reaching back, however clumsily, to claim their Aztec roots. I loved the micro-histories of the many youth sects, & their psychic and physical boundaries. I loved how your big, honest heart pulses through the thing. It's a fine contribution, and we gringos who must glimpse Mexico vicariously, & through the dispatches of others -- through "Distant Neighbors" and "Labyrinth of Solitude" and "Insurgent Mexico" -- have another great and complementary work to help us see.
Thank you, Richard!
I consider the book a collaborative project. I collaborated with the support, friendship, and love of many people in both Mexico and the United States. I collaborated with the many defeños who welcomed me into their homes and shared their stories and city with me. I collaborated with several artists and photographers who generously contributed some of the original images that accompany each chapter. Thank you.
It's been a long journey. Here is the blog post first announcing my plans to move to D.F. from Los Angeles. There are many other posts inside Intersections that chart the book's set-backs and developments along the way. Look for those posts in the Books category.
-- Updated, 25 January 2010, Mexico D.F.