The Arid Sky

The Arid Sky, by Emiliano Monge - 9781632061348.jpg
The Arid Sky, by Emiliano Monge - 9781632061348.jpg

The Arid Sky


By Emiliano Monge

Translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead

Described as “a literary atomic bomb” (Luisán Gámez), the Mexican literary star Emiliano Monge’s English-language debut is the Latin American incarnation of Cormac McCarthy: an artistically daring, gorgeously wrought and eviscerating novel of biblical violence as told through the story of a man “who, unbeknownst to him, was his century.”

Book Details

Paperback list price: $17.99 ISBN: 9781632061348 • Publication: 6/26/2018 • 5.5" x 8.25" • 256 Pages •  Fiction: Literary / Mexican • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632061355

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About the Book

“This is the story of a man who, unbeknownst to him, was his century, and of a place gathered under the name of Germán Alcántara Carnero. A story of violence both uncontainable and natural—one that demands to be told as a nonlinear biography, and which should not have begun here."

These lines open The Arid Sky, the story of Germán Alcántara Carnero, of the men and women who lived by his side, and of the plateau where Mexican literary rising star Emiliano Monge distills the essence of a ruthless Latin America.  This is an arid land whose only constants are loneliness, violence, loyalty, and the struggle to create an ethical code that will return some small measure of meaning to life.

Narrating the signature moments of Germán’s life—the escape of men to other countries, the interminable war, the disappearance of a young girl, the disenchantment of believers, the confrontation between a father and his son, the birth of a sick child, the loaded chamber of a gun, and murder—The Arid Sky is a journey to the core of humankind and a challenge of the kind only great literature can pose to its readers.

“Whoever nears these pages would do well to follow the advice Dante famously encountered as he passed through the gates of hell: ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’” —Fernando Castenedo, Babelia



“Rarely can we witness literature like this.”                      

—Miguel Ángel Ángeles, Rolling Stone

“One of the most ambitious achievements in the last decade of Mexican literature."

—Jaime Mesa, Lado B

“A literary atomic bomb.”

—Luisán Gámez

“A complex yet magnificent book, solid and slippery at the same time, with poetry that blows one’s mind. A great novel.”

La Republica

“I don’t know how to tell you this but you must get your hands on this novel. Read it as if time didn’t matter, in a remote and solitary place, and do not dare to give your copy away as a gift. And finally, may it not be a surprise if it leaves you in unrest and reminds you of something ancient and afar.”

—Ricardo Baixeras, El Periódico

“It establishes a cadence of rare intensity and unexpected lyricism.”

-Rodrigo Pinto, Babelia / El País

“Monge’s novel stands out for the plasticity of its prose, the intelligence of its approach and its revision of stereotypes.”

—Patricio Pron, Letras Libres

“A Latin American novel in a very profound sense, where violence, solitude and war’s aridity refreshingly lurk over.”

—Roberto Valencia, Quimera

“A relentless novel that reconstructs almost a century of Mexican history with an obsessive and illuminating prose.”

—Matías Nespolo, El Mundo

“This books weighs down in importance just as much as it dazzles.”

—Marta Sanz, El Confidencial

“Emiliano Monge’s use of grim humour recalls that of works such as Bolaño’s 2666 and McCarthy’s The Crossing.”    

—Tom Bunstead, Times Literary Supplement

“A machine of stories that shows only what a novel can put in movement: the mutations and servitudes of an interior life.”

—Álvaro Enrigue, La Universal



© Oswaldo Ruiz

© Oswaldo Ruiz

Emiliano Monge (Mexico City, 1978) studied Political Science at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where he also taught until his move to Barcelona, where he currently resides. Though he has worked as a book and magazine editor, at present, he fully dedicates his time to this writing. His first short story collection Arrastrar esa sombra was published in 2008, followed by the novel Morirse de memoria; both were finalists for the Antonin Artaud award. With a wide array of non-fiction essays, reportage and book reviews, he has been an ongoing contributor to the Spanish newspaper El País, the Mexican newspaper Reforma, and prestigious magazines such as Letras Libres and Gatopardo. He was the two-time recipient of the Conaculta award Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, and is now a member of the “Orden del Finnegans”, a group of Spanish writers that gather annually on Bloomsday in Dublin in honour of Joyce’s Ulysses.



Thomas Bunstead

Thomas Bunstead

Thomas Bunstead's translations from the Spanish include work by Eduardo Halfon and Yuri Herrera, Aixa de la Cruz's story “True Milk” in Best of European Fiction, and the forthcoming A Brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas (a co-translation with Anne McLean). A guest editor of a Words Without Borders feature on Mexico (March 2015), Thomas has also published his own writing in the Times Literary SupplementThe Independent, the Paris Review blog, 3ammagazine, Days of Roses, readysteadybook, and >kill author.