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Crime Scenes

Latin American Crime Fiction from the 1960s to the 2010s

Edited By Charlotte Lange and Ailsa Peate

Crime fiction has become a key element in Latin American literature. The rise in production of the genre can be explained by an urgency to explore issues of morality in societies which incorporate varying levels of censorship and corruption. Through a focus on the concept of the crime scene itself, this book identifies and interrogates some of the principal developments in contemporary Latin American crime fiction. In ten chapters which cover Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, and generic diversity which spans police procedurals, narcoliteratura, postmodern detection, and historical portrayals of crimes, the authors investigate how the crime scene – which has always been central to the genre and its subgenres – critiques local and global issues, including social injustice, discrimination, neoliberalism, violence, identity, corruption, and memory.

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10 Scenes from the Most Violent City in the World: Caracas muerde and Muerte en el Guaire (Katie Brown)


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10 Scenes from the Most Violent City in the World: Caracas muerde and Muerte en el Guaire


In 2016, Caracas was named the most violent city in the world, with a homicide rate of 119.87 per 100,000 inhabitants. While the effects of crime and violence are often understood only in terms of such overarching statistics, this chapter explores how agonistic narratives – in this case, Caracas muerde, a 2012 book of crónicas by Héctor Torres, and the 2016 epistolary novel Muerte en el Guaire by Raquel Rivas Rojas – offer multiple individual perspectives on these issues through fragmentary scenes. These books challenge the lack of agency inherent in deindividuated narratives of victimhood and move away from the polarizing good-versus-bad or us-versus-them narratives which dominate accounts of contemporary Venezuela.

In her recent academic work, Raquel Rivas Rojas has cited a provocation from Mexican author Cristina Rivera Garza (2013: 19): ‘¿Cuáles son los diálogos estéticos y éticos a los que nos avienta el hecho de escribir, literalmente, rodeados de muertos?’ [What ethic and aesthetic dialogues are thrown our way when we write, literally, surrounded by the dead?].1 Rivas Rojas’s 2016 novel, Muerte en el Guaire [Death on the Guaire], and Héctor Torres’s collection of crónicas2 Caracas muerde [Caracas Bites], published in 2012, offer two different, but complementary, approaches to writing in a context where death is not a metaphor, but...

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