In his introduction to El Monstruo, John Ross starts small and immediate as he describes his room in the crumbling Hotel Isabel where he has lived since the disastrous earthquake in 1985 that left Mexico City leveled in the same way the 1906 left San Francisco.
Ross starts out small but there is nothing small in his history of Mexico City. In fact his tale of the down-and-outs, the prostitutes— those who make up his teeming city— is more of a love affair with a haggard and desolate lover; much like Bolaño’s Chile or Saramago’s Portugal.
This book consumed me. It made me yearn for and recoil from Mexico City all at once. It is the literary and historical heartbeat of a city that always seems on the brink of destruction but somehow lives on.
It is beautiful and heroic tribute to this incredible city.