Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Las Hijas de Juarez (Daughters of Juarez): Un auténtico relato de asesinatos en serie al sur de la frontera by Teresa Rodriguez

Format: Paperback

Pages: 368

Series: NA

Source: Own (Book Depository)

Genres: Non fiction, True Crime

Publisher: Atria books (Simon and Schuster)

Publication date: June 26th 2007 (first published March 27th 2007)

First impression
I stumbled upon this book on Book Depository almost by mistake, while looking for something interesting in the nonfiction section. A gruesome subject, I felt like I barely knew anything about the mass murders that happened in Juarez, so I decided to read it. While I did get more information on the subject, the delivery was far from what I expected. Partly, I believe due to the translation to Spanish, but mostly because there was a serious lack of flow and abrupt cuts between ideas and paragraphs.

Final thoughts

I won’t talk much about what the book is about, since the title pretty much explains it. A case study beginning with the first murders in the early 1990s, the book will not only tell the story of some of the women killed and their families, but also of some of the people involved in the investigation and alleged culprits. I say alleged for every time the authorities seemed to catch the murder(s), women continued being attacked and horribly killed.

The smaller issue I had with the book was the translation. While Teresa Rodiguez is from a Cuban family, she wrote the book originally in English, and then it was translated by Vicente Echerri. But the translation wasn’t consistent, sometimes using the English acronym and sometimes using the translated one; sentences like “las muchachas fueron muertas” made no sense in a Spanish construction, rather it should’ve been “fueron asesinadas”. I realize this might seem like a picky thing to point out, but when similar issues appear constantly it affects the reading experience.

Either from the original manuscript or during the translation, there was also a big lack of consistency when referring to people or institutions. As rule, if you are going to refer to a person by a nickname or use the acronym of an institution, you should at least use the full name when they are first introduced. This was not the case in the book creating a lot of unnecessary backs and forwards when reading it.

While the author wanted to give a voice to the women who lost their lives, the lack of organization, the unnecessary repetition and lack of flow made their names and voices felt really faint. One thing that is for sure transmitted through the book is the lack of a proper investigation through the years and the insane amount of corruption lurking in this town.

If anyone else is interested in the book, I wouldn’t recommend this translation. Maybe without this factor, I would’ve given the book a 3, since it did give me more information about the subject, albeit in a very all over the place manner.

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