SCARY STORY brings one of Mexico’s most exciting literary figures to Anglophone literature for the first time! Shedding light on the brutal violence that continues to target the underprivileged, marginalized, neglected, and oppressed in Mexico and beyond. In the author’s word, SCARY STORY is ‘a hybrid text, equal parts horror story and political poem, and it takes the form of a countdown, imperceptible to everyone in the universe of the story itself.’
The recipient of the Premio Nacional del Cuento award from Mexico, Alberto Chimal is one of the most prolific contemporary Mexican writers, celebrated for his innovative narrative and his experimentations with style and form. Chimal is often considered a major figure in digital literature, producing works in hybrid formats for the internet.
SCARY STORY is translated from Spanish by the award winning D.P. Snyder and contains two major sections, both emerging from the digital landscape which have been later adapted for print. The photographs in the book, taken by the author’s phone and intentionally low res, are a part of his online storytelling experiment and follow a dark comic strip structure.
Glimpses of the contemporary world are rendered into their own blunt confrontations with a heart-wrenching mythos that contains many apocalyptic narratives, yet is so frighteningly close to the incessant tragedies that dominate the actual netscape the writer initially appeared upon. SCARY STORY is therefore informed by the medium under which it was conceived, its aesthetics, born of a twitter we no longer recognize. SCARY STORY is a mythology of the online zeitgeist and therefore an important document of its timeline.
As distinguished Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza elaborates, Chimal has been “building a literary world of his own”, and one that she claims showcases his “awareness of contemporary violence and his critical embracing of digital technologies”.
Miscellaneous. Fiction. Latinx Studies.
“Best-kept-secret-of-Mexican-letters no more, Alberto Chimal has been hard at work building a literary world all of his own. A visionary and a risk-taker, Chimal is well-known for widely imaginative and surgically-written novels and short stories that defy easy classification. SCARY STORY is no exception. Brilliantly rendered into English by D. P. Snyder, these two transmedial cross-genre pieces show Chimal at his minimalist best: his awareness of contemporary violence and his critical embracing of digital technologies, not to mention his abilities as a photographer, come into wondrous fruition in interconnected verbal and visual fragments that are both disturbing and compelling. Chimal comes as close as we will get to the secret palpitation of our present.”
—Cristina Rivera Garza
“Alberto Chimal is a master of the uncanny and few people are better at the fantastic in spanish, but he is also bold and brave with form and style and materials. Hybrids, online texts, lists, pictures, so-called normal stories: he can do everything. He is curious, he is smart and his writing is exquisite.”
Alberto Chimal (Toluca, México) is a writer and creative writing teacher. He won the 2002 National Short Story Book Award for Estos son los días (These Are the Days, Ediciones ERA, 2005) and the 2014 Colima Prize for a published work of fiction for Manda fuego (Let Fire Rain Down, FOEM, 2013). His 2012 novel La torre y el jardín (The Tower and the Garden, Editorial Oceano de Mexico) was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos International Award, one of the most prestigious in the Spanish language, and his dystopian novel La noche en la zona M (Night in the M Zone, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2019) won the International Award for a Young Adult Novel from Banco del Libro in 2021. His latest projects are La visitante (The Visitor, Planeta México, 2022), a weird novel set in 20th-century Mexico, and his script for the movie Confesiones (Confessions), directed by Carlos Carrera, set for international release in late 2023. He is also the author of comics and essays and has a large online following as a disseminator of creative writing and literature.
D. P. Snyder (Philadelphia) is an American writer, critic, and translator from Spanish specializing in literature from Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and the Caribbean. Her translations have appeared in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Two Lines Journal, The Sewanee Review, World Literature Today, and Latin American Literature Today, among others, and her translation of Mónica Lavín's "Coyoac´n a la carte" (WLT, November 2022) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her book-length works are Meaty Pleasures by Mónica Lavín (Katakana Editores, 2021) and Arrhythmias by Angelina Muñiz-Huberman (Literal Publishing & Hablemos, escritoras 2022). Her translations are also anthologized, notably in Talking Books with Mario Vargas Llosa (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) and Daughters of Latin America (HarperCollins Amistad, 2023). Snyder is a contributor and editorial board member at Reading in Translation, serves on the PEN America Translation Committee, and is a member of the American Literary Translator's Association. She lives in Hillsborough, NC.