Distant Neighbors (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
A political cartoon in a weekly Mexican news magazine in the early 1980’s offered a fitting assessment of the sorry state of the Mexican body politic. It showed an elderly couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary—a wry comment on the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Mexico’s ruling political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). La Señora was penciled in as a rather well-to-do, overfed matron of society wearing a gaudy red, white, and green dress (the colors of the Mexican flag) inscribed with the letters PRI. El Señor, unfortunately, was not so well, appearing as a skeleton in tattered clothing with two bandoleers. The message was unmistakable: While the PRI has become both flabby and garish, the principles for which revolutionaries such as El Señor had fought during the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1919) have been dead for years, a sad victim of a corrupt, power-hungry bureaucratic state.
Alan Riding’s Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans evokes striking images of the bureaucratic nightmare called the PRI. The author’s rapier journalistic style, honed for six years as the Mexico City bureau chief of The New York Times, pointedly critiques a generation of leaders who have left the Mexican people decidedly bitter and cynical about the political future of their nation. A typical refrain from the disillusioned Mexican middle class was echoed in a recent column in...
(The entire section is 2284 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
The Atlantic. CCLV, February, 1985, p. 97.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVII, April 11, 1985, p. 23.
Commonweal. CXII, May 17, 1985, p. 318.
Library Journal. CX, January, 1985, p. 73.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. January 27, 1985, p. 1.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, January 6, 1985, p. 5.
Newsweek. CV, January 28, 1985, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, November 16, 1984, p. 58.
The Wall Street Journal. CCV, January 28, 1985, p. 28.
Washington Post Book World. XV, February 10, 1985, p. 1.
(The entire section is 59 words.)