By Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny
Translated by J.D. Pluecker
Trash interweaves the voices of three women with lived connections to the municipal garbage dump of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Publication Date: March 21, 2023
Aguilar Zéleny's English-language debut shows the complexities of survival and joy, love and violence for three women: a teenager abandoned by her guardian at the dump, a scientist doing research on the residents of the dump, and a transwoman living nearby who is the matriarch of a group of sex workers.
Each one of the characters navigates family, abandonment, power, jealousy, greed, and multiple taboos around sexuality and gender violence. Their stories are linked by geography and by ideas of waste and abandonment.
As Aguilar Zéleny explores these territories in her book, she asks crucial questions: who is seen as disposable and why? How do women find their own means of survival and joy in the midst of a perilous sociopolitical context? What does it mean to live a life in a time of austerity and extreme violence? Trash is a critical intervention in Mexican literature.
Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso. She is the author of four short-story books and a young adult novel series. Her novel Todo Eso Es Yo won the National Book Award in Tamaulipas, México in 2015.
JD Pluecker has translated numerous books from the Spanish, including Gore Capitalism (Semiotext(e), 2018), Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016), and Writing with Caca by Luis Felipe Fabre (Green Lantern Press, 2021). Their book of poetry and image, Ford Over, was released in 2016 from Noemi Press. JD is a recipient of the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writing Grant and has exhibited work at Blaffer Art Museum, the Hammer Museum, Project Row Houses, and more.
“Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny has constructed a novel that impregnates itself into the skin and the nose: Garbage. Not infrequently, I was submerged into its pages and suddenly felt that something around me smelled awful. And it’s the truth: something smells awful in this country." —Óscar Alarcón, El Popular
"The masterful way that Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny develops the characters is evidence that the author has a high level of narrative power." —Raul Picazo, Crash