Re: RARA-AVIS: Settings of DIA and RED JUNGLE

From: Kukana Fields (
Date: 20 Sep 2005

  Dia is set during the peso crisis of 1994 and its aftermath. The devaluation of the peso (I just looked this up to refresh my memory.) was the largest bail out by the IMF up until then. The devaluation was particulary hard on the border towns as, up until then, Mexicans were used to crossing the border to shop for food etc, things that were cheaper in the US at the time.
  Red Jungle is set in present day Guatemala. The coffee crisis there is on going. The Crisis is due to a lot of factors, but the most important one is the fact that many other countries have recently gone into coffee production, so there is much more production in the world than, say, before 1980. Believe it or not, these new producers, like Vietnam, produce coffee even cheaper than producers in Latin America can, in part because the Vietnamese pay their workers even less. The coffee crisis has generated a reaction in consumer countries like America, Germany and France etc. creating consumer groups that
"label" coffee as "sustainable" meaning the workers who helped produce it are being treated fairly by employers, given health care, a decent wages etc. This is a good thing, it helps workers in very concrete ways.

William Denton <> wrote: I didn't a chance to say anything last week, but I've enjoyed seeing the chat with Kent Harrington. Kent, I have a question about the times when DIA DE LOS MUERTOS and RED JUNGLE are set.

I'm rereading DIA right now, and I can't find the line, but there's a mention near the start that the peso has collapsed and the Mexican economy is in trouble. DIA was published in 1997--is that a reference to the
"December mistake" of 1994, an economic crisis, or is the book set slightly in the future? I ask because RED JUNGLE is set slightly in the future, where coffee is dropping in price and the Guatemalan economy is in trouble. I don't know enough about Mexico to guess if you were doing the same thing in DIA.

Here's a line from DIA DE LOS MUERTOS that made me laugh. It's thought by a beautiful woman as she walks over a bridge out of California and crosses the border into Mexico: "Going back ito Tijuana was like putting on a pair of crotchless panties."

I can hardly believe you have a new novel sitting in the drawer that no-one wants to publish! The publishing business makes no sense.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : :

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