There’s a web site called Snowflakes in a Blizzard which each week features books that its editor feels haven’t received the attention they deserve. This week he chose my novel, ONE LIFE, as well as another novel brought out by Unnamed, the same publisher — FINGERPRINTS OF PREVIOUS OWNERS, by Rebecca Entel. As always, I’m grateful for the attention. Click here to link to the page and read brief interviews with Rebecca and I.
I suppose that many countries around the world celebrate one form or another of Independence Day. Still, given what is going on these days, one can hardly help but wonder how many countries have anything about which they can be proud enough to wave their flags. In Mexico, we celebrate the night of September 15th, where at 11:00 at every town square -- from one-horse podunks to the Zócalo in Mexico City -- hordes gather to shout "Viva México!" This will be the last time that Enrique Peña Nieto officiates at this ceremony. According to opinion polls -- practically since he was elected -- there are very few people around who will be sorry to see him go.
Our new president assumes office on December 1. While he has many followers who believe in him to the marrow, I think that many other Mexicans voted for Andrés Manuel López Obrador because they simply couldn't stand another moment of the status quo. They wanted the PRI and the PAN, who have been in power here since 1929, to get buried as deeply as possible. I wish our new President well and truly hope that he will be able to fulfill the voters' expectations of him. Certainly his predecessors have been so disappointing, many would even say disastrous, that they provoked the kind of mood that the metro rider, pictured below, is in.
Years ago I saw a TV interview with the actor Robert Vaughn, who said that he had moved to Connecticut because he wanted his children to experience the change of seasons, rather than suffer the monotony of continuous sunny days in Los Angeles. Vaughn spoke with a priggish mid-Atlantic accent, and I remember thinking, What an unbearable snob. It’s as if he believes one kind of weather is morally superior to another.
I’ve written before about this time of year in Mexico City. Although climate change is making weather less predictable all over the world, it’s still my favorite season — the hottest time of year before the rains begin in full force, usually in late May or early June.
Even though Mexico City has a temperate climate, we do have markedly different seasons, even if they’re not the same as they are in Vaughn’s cherished Connecticut. Between February and June, when the rains begin, it’s “spring,” with jacaranda, bougainvillea and other flowers blooming. (By the time you read this, the jacarandas, pictured here, which shed their petals after two or three months, will be mostly nude.) It’s the hottest time of year (although not unbearably so), going up to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 or 27 Celsius) most days.
During the rainy season, from June through September, there’s usually a downpour for a couple of hours in the afternoon (with more at night from time to time). The rain cools things off, especially on cloudy days. October and November tend to be sunny and a little cooler, and during the winter — from December through more or less mid-February — it can go up to 70 degrees (21 Celsius) during the day, and on some nights down to about 40 (4 or 5 degrees Celsius). Homes in Mexico City don’t have central heating, so you need to wear a sweater inside, and lay on an extra blanket when you sleep. To hear people around here complain, you’d think we were living in the North Pole.
It’s what I consider a privileged climate, and has truly spoiled me. When I’ve had to travel to places of extreme heat and cold for work, I wonder how people survive a life there. I cannot imagine what it would possibly take to get me to move to Connecticut.