When Jeanine Cummins’ highly anticipated book American Dirt hit the shelves early readers were beside themselves recommending it (led by Oprah who called it a ‘must read’). The mother and son story of being pursued by a drug kingpin fired everyone’s imaginations and said to highlight the plight of migrants, in the Trump-era of xenophobia incredibly current.
And then controversy hit. Mexican and Latinx writers came down hard on it calling it out for fetishising their culture and that Cummins wrote at best, a summer thriller and not (as marketed) a book that really puts forward migrant issues and social justice. We chew through the controversy surrounding this book in our latest episode and touch on the sensitive subjects of cultural appropriation, the biases of a publishing world and, who has the right to tell whose story.
Excerpts taken from:
Interview with Myriam Gurba on Democary Now!
Interview with Jeanine Cummins on CBS this Morning
Here are some articles on it
The Conversation American Dirt Fiasco Exposes Publishing Industry that’s too Consolidated, too White and too Selective
Tropics of Meta (Myriam Gurba’s article)
Huffpost American Dirt isn’t just Bad- Its Best Parts are Cribbed from Latino Writers
Salon.com Has Oprah Lost her Touch?
Longreads American Dirt, a Bridge to Nowhere
Crime Reads American Dirt is the Latest Shot Fired in the Genre Wars
Slate.com Why Everyone’s Angry about My Dark Vanessa Now
Listen to the excellent podcast on Latino USA
Some books by Mexican and Latinx authors you might want to check out
By the Lake of Sleeping Children by Luis Alberto Urrea
Tell me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
Also in this episode we delve into February’s TBR. This is in collaboration with @definitelybooks. Loads of good reads to get your teeth into this month!
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