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Mexican Days


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About the Author

TONY COHAN is the author of On Mexican Time, the memoir Native State (a Los Angeles Times Notable Book of the Year), and the novels Opium and Canary (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Cond Nast Traveler. He divides his time between Mexico and California.


Novelist and memoirist Cohan takes on a travel magazine assignment to make "some trips around Mexico... see how the puzzle of old and new fit together [and] write about it." Traveling south from his San Miguel home, he passes through Vera Cruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas into the Yucat n. Readers familiar with the path may enjoy traveling with him; others will long for a minimal map, an organizing principle and some photographs. As Cohan drifts through Mexico, history (e.g., the founding of Tlacotalpan sometime between A.D. 900 and 1200) and contemporary events (e.g., the barricading of mountain roads by Zapatista insurgents) are revealed. Chats with taxistas and shopkeepers, visits with friends and artists, remarks about his own work and casual references to the famous among Mexico's tourist, exile and expatriate population dot the pages (John Huston gets four pages). Cohan's description of the book as "the Mexican postcard I'm always writing home" is accurate; but postcards work best for readers who can fill in the blanks with their own sense of where the writer is coming from. Perhaps readers of Cohan's previous, well-received account (On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel) will be able to do so. (May 2) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

This is an essential read for both Mexico aficionados and those contemplating a visit there. For the newcomer, Cohan (On Mexican Time) provides a vivid and beautifully crafted overview of Mexico's diverse culture, history, food, and customs. Those who know Mexico will gain new perspective on familiar tourist attractions and a glimpse into parts of Mexico travelers rarely visit. The author, who has lived and traveled in Mexico for many years (with San Miguel de Allende as his base), takes the reader to locations as diverse as Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Palenque, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Jalapa. He does not contain his displeasure at the changes Mexican locals make to please tourists-at the cheap souvenirs they proffer in place of the fine work of local artisans or the fiestas they stage for visitors (San Miguel de Allende in particular bears the brunt of his criticism). Despite his concerns for its commercialization, Cohan still loves Mexico and its unique local environments and lovely people. His observations are astute, on point, and necessary in the continuing dialog on contemporary Mexico. Recommended for public and university libraries.-Olga B. Wise, Austin, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Tony Cohan
Mexican Days

"Tony Cohan's singular novelist's heart and eye, and the master-craftsmanship of his prose, set him far apart from anyone else today writing about 'travel.' Tony Cohan goes through the looking glass beyond ordinary journeying and discovers not just a place, a culture, a history, but the interstices of mood, longing, the beauty and tragedy of the people he finds in that place. He is our pre-eminent explorer of Mexico, and anywhere else he may voyage to."
--Peter Nichols, author of A Voyage for Madmen On Mexican Time

"Terribly seductive--an enticing and intoxicating vision of Mexico."
--Denver Post

"Cohan describes life in Mexico as 'intimate, voluptuous, sense driven, ' a phrase that also describes On Mexican Time."
--Boston Sunday Globe

"On Mexican Time is more than a travelogue, more than a vicarious journey for the reader. It is a gentle reminder to examine our lives and weed out the unnecessary, the chaotic, and the frivolous."

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