Three unconnected people travel north, each passing in isolation over one of the most troubled and controversial dividing lines in the world: the Mexico‒US border. But in a melee of language and blood, their stories and the stories of those they meet—of a young serial killer, a waitress and graphic novelist and her lover (and former professor), and an outsider artist in a mental institution—gradually begin to coalesce. Daring in both its protagonists and its structure, Edmundo Paz Soldán’s Norte is a fast-paced, vivid, and operatic blending of distinct voices. Together, they lay bare the darkness of the line over which these souls—like so many others—have passed.
A prominent member of a new generation of Latin American writers, Paz Soldán stands in defiant opposition to the magical realism of the past century, instead grounding his work in political, economic, and historical realities. Norte is no exception; it is a tale of displacement and the very human costs of immigration. Shocking with its violence even as it thrills with its language, confounding rather than cowering under the cliché of the murderous, drug-dealing immigrant, Norte is a disquieting, imperative work—an undeniable reflection of our fragmented modern world.