La cresta de Ilión
Cristina Rivera Garza

NOVEL | 2002 | 176 pages

On a dark and stormy night, two mysterious women invade an unnamed narrator’s house, where they proceed to ruthlessly question their host’s identity. While the women are strangely intimate―even inventing a secret language―they harass the narrator by repeatedly claiming that they know his greatest secret: that he is, in fact, a woman. As the increasingly frantic protagonist fails to defend his supposed masculinity, he eventually finds himself in a sanatorium.

This Gothic tale destabilizes male-female binaries and subverts literary tropes.


RIGHTS: spanish TUSQUETS| english (usa) THE FEMINIST PRESS | english (uk) AND OTHER STORIES I italian VOLAND | arabic BATTANA

Astounding and thought-provoking.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Rivera Garza’s taut language drives the mystery forward, and she plays cleverly with the literary and political histories of Mexico, the importance of queer visibility, and the silencing of female authorship. An existential gothic tale about the high stakes of understanding—and accepting—the self.
— Kirkus Reviews
Enigmatic. . . . a joy to behold.
— Los Angeles Review of Books
Cristina Rivera Garza fills every chapter with suspense and nonstop mystery. Nonetheless, the plot is not centered in resolving these mysteries, but rather, it provides the reader a mind-bending journey filled with symbolism and a reality that follows its own rules of logic.
— Latino Book Review
One of the most fascinating novels I’ve read in years—utterly weird yet deeply resonant in its portrayal of gendered violence.
— The Millions
An intelligent, beautiful story about bodies disguised as a story about language disguised as a story about night terrors. Cristina Rivera Garza does not respect what is expected of a writer, of a novel, of language. She is an agitator.
— Yuri Herrera, author of Kingdom Cons
Warning: Cristina Rivera Garza is an explosive writer yet to be fully accounted for in English. She is an insubordinate stylist, a skilled creator of atmospheric and haunting language, and The Iliac Crest is a willfully queer piece where the workings of her wild imagination destabilize everything.
— Lina Meruane, author of Seeing Red
Symbolism abounds in the book; again, there great depths one could dig through, and The Iliac Crest could easily be read over and with new discoveries. Garza’s writing is gorgeous and precise, tying the various aspects of the book together into what is, at its core, a strange and unforgettable read.
— The Riveter
It seems to contain a multitude of novels, exploring a multitude of realities, experienced simultaneously. The result is exhilarating.
— The Quarterly Conversation
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