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The Book of Explanations

The Book of Explanations

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By Tedi López Mills

Translated by Robin Myers

From one of Mexico’s premier poets, the award-winning Tedi López Mills, a hybrid, genre-defying book of essays following the unusual and surprising complexities of everyday life.

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Paperback: 9781646051250

eBook: 9781646051267

Through thirteen essays, Tedi López Mills explores the minutiae that at first glance go unnoticed. In “Improper Nouns,” she explores the history and destiny of an uncomfortable name, asking whether the way we name what surrounds us affects the fabric of its essence. In “How Time Passes, In Consciousness and Outside,” one’s individual experience of time splits from how it passes outside us.The following essays allude to conscience, pain, private histories, dreams, wisdom, and the most difficult of memories that build one’s own identity. Throughout, López Mills traces the trail of her own history, journeying into her own conscience and the mysteries of existence.

Biographical Information

Tedi López Mills is one of Mexico's foremost poets writing today. Born in Mexico City in 1959, she studied philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and literature at the Sorbonne. She is the author of ten books of poetry and two essay collections, several of which have received national literary prizes. An English edition of Against the Current, in translation by Wendy Burke, was published by Phoneme Media in 2016. She lives in Mexico City, Mexico.

Robin Myers is a Mexico City-based translator and poet. She is the translator of books by Daniel Lipara, Cristina Rivera Garza, Mónica Ramón Ríos, and Ezequiel Zaidenwerg. Other work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, The Common, the Harvard Review, Two Lines, Waxwing, World Literature Today, Asymptote, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She was among the winners of the 2019 Poems in Translation Contest (Words Without Borders / Academy of American Poets) and is an alumna of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Her translation of Mariana Spada's Law of Conservation is forthcoming from Phoneme in 2023.


"Mills (Against the Current) combines the eye of a poet with the rigor of a philosopher in incisive essays that probe imagination, guilt, and jealousy...These passionate and original essays sing." —Publishers Weekly 

“These are ambitious essays that rival with and against Nietzsche, Rosset, Montaigne, Sartre, Fray Luis de León…These fourteen essays are meta and self-conscious, rich in logical and lexical inspections…You will need no further explanations on life after Tedi explains everything to you in the refined language of guilt and regret.” —Vi Khi Nao"

The Book of Explanations is a perfect example of how the personal essay can touch and enrich all other genres. With her characteristic acuity and a prose that flows like the famous river we can’t step into twice, Tedi López Mills delves into herself as she playfully considers the great subjects—identity, memory, the passage of time—and returns from the journey with even more questions in tow." —Isabel Zapata