Risks, Challenges and Ethics of Representing Feminicide: A Comparative Analysis of Sergio González Rodríguez’ Huesos en el desierto and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

Alice Driver (Independent Researcher)


In the past decade, several important fiction and nonfiction works have been produced about feminicide in Juárez, Mexico. This article focuses on the relationship between two authors and their narratives, one non-fiction and one fiction. In Mexico, the first non-fiction work produced on feminicide was Huesos en el desierto (2002) by Sergio González Rodríguez, a journalist from Mexico City. Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño, who had never been to Juárez, but was working on the behemoth novel 2666 (2004) that revolved around feminicides, contacted González Rodríguez via email to get more information about the killings in Juárez. The two books have striking similarities, and via interviews with González Rodríguez (Bolaño died in 2003), I explore the relationship between the writers and their work, focusing on how Bolaño’s novel fed off of González Rodríguez’s experiences and research and on how what Judith Butler defines as “precarious lives” are represented in the narratives. González Rodríguez writes Huesos en el desierto to create a historically accurate document that gives testament to the lives of feminicide victims. Bolaño, on the other hand, recreates the situation in which we, as humans, get desensitized to violence and cannot continue to function; we cannot continue to read, hear about, or see images of senseless violence. We shut down.

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