Lolita Bosch (Barcelona, 1970, web) has written a documentary novel, Camps abans de tot això/Campos de amapola antes de esto [(Poppy) Fields before all this], in which she portrays the logic, organization and violence of Mexico’s drug-trafficking. For ten years up to 2005 Bosch lived in Mexico. The novel was published in two original versions – the Catalan version being somewhat artificial, at least according to Julià Guillamon who recently reviewed the novel [“Culturas”, La Vanguardia, 15 May 2013, p. 10]. Apart from this point, his review is positive. Guillamon writes:
“She reconstructs a series of histories related to the drug traffic that crosses Mexico on its way from Colombia to the United States. The drug traffic has created drug lords and a web of interests that runs through the country’s political structure, dominates the local powers, and touches the police, the military and the anti-drug units. Some of these big bosses have become mythical figures, feared and admired. The norteños [northern] bands dedicate narcocorridos [ballads]to them that narrate their lives, in such a manner as the traditional corridos narrated the lives and deeds of the revolutionary heroes. Because they bypass government control; in a moment of institutional crisis they get by as a kind of vengeance figures. Their fame is made and unmade in flares: today everybody talks about them, tomorrow nobody will remember them. And the problem continues and spreads: from the frontier states -Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas- to Jalisco where they reinforce. Almighty cartels are created. And paramilitary units that become an alternative for the youths that suffer famine. The violence is becoming ever more delirious with people being beheaded, buried alive and dissolved in acid.”
“Lolita Bosch’s book wants to be a wake up call on the drama of drug trafficking. It starts with the case of a child kidnapping. It examines the history of some of the best-known smugglers and treats personal and family questions, with interesting digressions on weapons… , on the narcos‘ pantheons and on the paint of the planes used for the drug trade. The text is written as if it was a poen, with botanical and geological metaphors, circular compositions and parallelistic structures that create an obsessive internal rhythm and prepare the reader for the big crash of bloody deaths, like the one of the assassin called El Pozolero [the well-keeper (?)], accused of dissolving in acid 300 victims. As the book progresses it is people who become protagonists: the people who think that nothing will ever happen to them, who might take drugs, who disseminate different versions of the same facts, who cannot understand what’s happening. Bosch examines the mechanisms that make the drug trafficking fascinating; she presents it as an exasperation of capitalism, and she demonstrates that nobody escapes its power.”
The Spanish Amazon lists quite a few books written, as well in Spanish as in Catalan, by Lolita Bosch, none (? cf. below) of which has been translated into English so far. Among these are Elisa Kiseljak (2005), Qui vam ser [Who we were, 2006], Hecho en México [Made in Mexico], La família del meu pare [My father’s family, 2008], Voces: Antología de narrativa catalana contemporánea [Voices: Anthology of Contemporary Catalan Narrative], Ara escric [Now I write, 2011], and a good number of children’s and juvenile books.
Bosch’s homepage lists some examples of translations into English, but it’s not clear if the whole book is available in English or just a part to get an idea. What becomes clear, though, is that she’s quite prolific!