The Iliac Crest
The Iliac Crest
Cristina Rivera Garza
This excavation of forgotten Mexican women writers illustrates how gendered language wields destructive power.
Translated by Sarah Booker
Afterword by Elena Poniatowska
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 two women are strangely intimate, even inventing a secret language, they harass the narrator by claiming repeatedly 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.
Published for the first time in English, this Gothic tale destabilizes male-female binaries and subverts literary tropes.
"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
“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
“Both a novel of ideas and one of visceral emotion written with language so precise and rich that at times it can feel overwhelming.” —The Brooklyn Rail
“Although modest in length, Garza's creative piece is a complex puzzle that might take multiple readings to unravel fully... Despite the novel's brevity, Booker's translation makes clear the intricate and delicate poetic dance Garza crafts among the three main characters.” —Shelf Awareness
"The Iliac Crest carries out a sophisticated, dynamic inquiry into language, gender, and power, and leaves its readers transformed by its lyrical investigation of what it means to inhabit a body." —Music & Literature
"[A] haunting, brilliant novel" —Center for the Art of Translation
"It seems to contain a multitude of novels, exploring a multitude of realities, experienced simultaneously. The result is exhilarating.” —The Quarterly Conversation