I’ve always loved author Michael Nava’s crime stories featuring Henry Rios, a gay Latino criminal defense lawyer. They have won many well-deserved awards for their amazingly good and real writing. With The City of Palaces, Nava gives us something altogether different and extraordinary—he has departed into the realm of books that will be literary classics. Set in Mexico before the revolution, we are immediately swept into a world of broad contrasts: the teaching of the church set against the reality of people’s behavior, the wealthy Spanish-lineage citizens against the Yaquis, the righteous few against the expedient many. This book is the first in a planned quartet that will follow the story from pre-revolution Mexico City to Hollywood in the 1920s. The characters are so real and the story so compelling that I came perilously close to missing the deadline for this review. I simply did not want to finish the book, leave the setting, and end my relationship with the characters. Terrace Books, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press (uwpress.wisc.edu). —Angel Curtis
Angel Curtis is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
February 11, 2021
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