When I began reading Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado’s book, a study on post-1968 Mexican fiction, in the context of debates on “world literature,” I did not expect it to transport me to a much more familiar place: my mother’s bookshelf in Puerto Rico, circa 1995. There, I read the Latin American Boom, but also the novels of Laura Esquivel and Ángeles Mastretta, as they arrived on my mother’s shelves. There were also many books in translation—British and Russian books, books that I never again encountered in all my years as a literature student. I never wondered before about the paths those books must have traveled, who their authors were, how they were related to one another, or how they had arrived, against all odds, at our house.

Strategic Occidentalism offers convincing answers to some of the mysteries behind the...

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