Not Even the Dead


by Open Letter

July 11, 2023
novel | pb | 420 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"

A claim of justice for the losers of history with echoes of authors as different as Joseph Conrad, Alejo Carpentier, and David Mitchell.

The conquest of Mexico is over, and Juan de Toñanes is one of so many soldiers without glory who roam like beggars for the land they helped subdue. When he receives one last mission, to hunt down a renegade Indian who’s called the Father and who preaches a dangerous heresy, he understands that this may be his last chance to carve himself the future he’s always dreamed of. But as he goes deep into the unexplored lands of the north following the Father's trace, he will discover the footprints of a man who seems not only a man, but a prophet destined to transform his time and even the times to come.

Not Even the Dead is the story of a persecution that transcends territories and centuries; a path pointing northward, always northward, that is to say, always toward the future, on a hallucinated journey from the sixteenth century New Spain to today's Trump wall. Old conquerors on horseback and migrants riding the roofs of the Beast, rebellious Indians and peasants waiting patiently for a better world, Mexican revolutionaries who take their rifles and women murdered in the desert of Ciudad Juárez, all pass by it. All of them share the same landscape and the same hope, the arrival of the Father who will bring justice to the oppressed.

Translated from the Spanish by Katie Whittemore


About the Author:

Juan Goméz Bárcena (1984) holds degrees in literary theory, comparative literature, and history from the Complutense University of Madrid, and a degree in philosophy from Spain's National University of Distance Education. He's the author of numerous essay, short story, and poetry collections, for which he's received the José Hierro Prize for Poetry and Fiction, the International CRAPE Prize for stories, and the Ramón J. Sender Prize for Narrative, among others. He lives in Madrid.

About the Translator:

Katie Whittemore translates from the Spanish. Her work has appeared in Two LinesThe Arkansas InternationalThe Common OnlineGulf Coast Magazine Online, The Brooklyn Rail, and InTranslation. Current projects include novels by Spanish authors Sara Mesa, Javier Serena, Aliocha Coll, and Aroa Moreno Durán. She lives in Valencia.

Praise for Juan Goméz Bárcena: