Globalization and the State in Contemporary Crime Fiction

Part of the series Crime Files pp 119-139


True-Crime, Crime Fiction, and Journalism in Mexico

  • Persephone BrahamAffiliated withForeign Languages and Literatures, University of Delaware


Braham argues that the violent excesses produced by two related events—the ongoing narco-wars that have resulted in thousands of deaths across Mexico, and the unsolved killings of women in the border city of Ciudad Juárez—not only dominate Mexican crime fiction, but produce new, hybridized forms of writing, as the boundaries between journalism, nota rojas (“extensive compilations of anecdotes of violence), self-published narco tales, and crime fiction are systematically degraded. As such, focusing on the violence of the narco wars and the Juárez murders allows Braham to do several things at once: to demonstrate the way in which the victims of these murders came to be perceived as fodder for (or waste products of) the ongoing crisis in the country and of the “machine” of globalization; to show how contemporary Mexican crime narratives blend fictional and non-fictional elements in a way that reflects the ‘tabloidization’ of crime in Mexico during the era of narco-terrorism, and to highlight the extent to which violence in contemporary Mexico exceeds the boundaries (and control) of the state, which means that crime narratives needs to be similarly expansive in describing the varieties of neoliberal violence. Braham’s far-reaching analysis of the complex intersections between different forms of writing, and the events that have produced them, successfully illuminates the circumstances and mechanisms underlying the current crisis, noting both the degradation of certain forms of narrativization, and the efforts of a writer like Roberto Bolaño, to mirror and adapt to these degradations, in order to critically reflect on the crisis.