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Texas: The Great Theft

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
"Mexico's greatest woman writer."—Roberto Bolaño

"A luminous writer . . . Boullosa is a masterful spinner of the fantastic"—Miami Herald

An imaginative writer in the tradition of Juan Rulfo, Jorge Luis Borges, and Cesar Aira, Carmen Boullosa shows herself to be at the height of her powers with her latest novel. Loosely based on the little-known 1859 Mexican invasion of the U
Paperback, 283 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Deep Vellum Publishing (first published January 1st 2013)
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Calligraphy Lesson by Mikhail ShishkinThe Indian by Jón GnarrThe Mountain and the Wall by Alisa GanievaSphinx by Anne GarrétaTexas by Carmen Boullosa
Deep Vellum
5th out of 21 books — 9 voters
My Brilliant Friend by Elena FerranteThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeThe Piano Teacher by Elfriede JelinekLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelThe Lover by Marguerite Duras
Women in Translation
401st out of 537 books — 110 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Boullosa achieves the amazing goal of immersing you in a cast of 190 named characters so that as events unfold in the border troubles of 1859, you participate as if you belonged to all segments of the community. Each individual has both an assigned trade--butcher, vaquero, innkeeper--and a political role they choose or find thrust upon them. (Women are important characters here, so I’m going to use the less-than-desirable ‘they’ rather than ‘he’.) That is, while the conflict is sparked by gringo ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jun 08, 2015 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
For native Texans, “The Great Theft” component of this novel’s title could be substituted with “The Great Corrective,” or even “The Great Slap in the Face.” I was officially taught Texas history decades ago in elementary school, and I am sure what I learned was as myth-fueled as accounts of U.S. history than include George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. Over the years, I have picked up a more realistic view of how this state developed and I assume that what is taught in schools has ...more
Dec 31, 2014 jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
with a colorful and lively ensemble cast, mexican novelist carmen boullosa offers a fictionalized account of the 1859 first cortina war. texas: the great theft, while beautifully crafted, at times suffers from a surfeit of characters and over-exposition. flirting with the fringes of magical realism, however, boullosa's tale is a rollicking re-imagining of the mid-19th century border skirmish set along the rio grande.
"if we don't get rid of them, before we know it they'll pass a law preventing u
Apr 07, 2013 Adal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Le pondría 2.5 estrellas mas no existe esta opción. Pocas veces soy tan duro con un libro en su reseña pero debo confesar que realmente no me gustó. En general se me hace pretencioso y siento que no hay una línea narrativa clara durante toda la obra. Si bien es cierto que el tema es fascinante y siento retrata de manera muy efectiva la situación social de la época, en especial el sistema esclavista del que inclusive los mismos Texanos han decidido ignorar de sus libros de historia, la autora ...more
Kobe Bryant
Jul 05, 2016 Kobe Bryant rated it it was ok
Like the GTA 4 trailer said, might is right
Audrey Schoeman
May 25, 2015 Audrey Schoeman rated it it was amazing

‘Texas: The Great Theft’ begins with a straightforwardly told encounter: the Sheriff of Bruneville (a small town on the Texan-Mexican border) ‘spits five words at Don Nepomuceno:

“Shut up, you dirty greaser.”’

The story is set in 1859, at the time of the Mexican-American border wars, and this encounter is the spark that lights the tinderbox of north-south relations. We follow the news as it spreads around town, and its consequences begin to unfurl, moving with it from one house or market stand to
Gabrielo Garibay
Nov 18, 2013 Gabrielo Garibay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es una de las novelas más accesible y divertidas de Boullosa. Toma como ingredientes los hechos históricos pero tiene una manera tan maestra de combinarlos con la ficción que el resultado es muy gratificante. Hoy en día da miedo invocar a La Imaginación. Hoy en día todo tiene que ser trágico y "real" para considerarse serio. No es así. La literatura, alta literatura de Boullosa transplanta la historia a su propio planeta. Y su planeta literario es rico en Historia y Ficción. Esto es un ejemplo ...more
World Literature Today
"Through the intricate plot and multitude of characters, both principal and peripheral, Carmen Boullosa’s novel Texas seems to score a direct hit... Yet the plot tends to get lost in the central plains of her novel, which detracts from a satisfying reading experience." - Janet Mary Livesey, University of Oklahoma

This book was reviewed in the May 2013 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our website:
learn how texicans expand their might and power in 1859 border region of brownsville/matamoros

funny, disgusting, full of intrigue and power plays, a good way to get your history lessons/lesions

Apr 04, 2013 Juan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable book that tells the so hidden truth of American expansion in the west through her eyes and words. A must read.
Michelle Lancaster
Dec 02, 2014 Michelle Lancaster rated it really liked it
Texas: the Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa
Translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Deep Vellum Publishing
$15.95, 285 pgs

Once upon a time in Texas, there was a man perturbed, even aghast, by the rarity of contemporary translations of literature in this country. Thus was born Deep Vellum Publishing. Deep Vellum, based in Dallas, released its first title today. Woo hoo! Congratulations all around. And what a debut it is: Texas: the Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, translated fr
Nov 09, 2016 Grant rated it it was amazing
This is a real gem.
Oct 01, 2015 Koby rated it really liked it
Rarely have I discovered an author with greater grasp on her characters. In Texas, Boullosa commands a vast expanse of characters who draw along one storyline. I worried that the plot would be too confusing with this cast, but they enhance it to paint an engrossing portrait of the Republic.
Jul 06, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: translated-lit
At various points this book made me: laugh, angry, bored, excited, speechless, frustrated and amazed.

I found myself thinking about it, what parts I liked and disliked, to a greater extant than I have any other work of literature in the last year or so. That is a very good thing.
Will E
Feb 19, 2016 Will E rated it liked it
3.5? It's very readable and I learned a lot about Texas and American history. But I read a lot of it on a plane and there were a lot of characters to keep track of... I can see that this is a good (great?) book but it didn't move me.
Megha rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2015
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2016
Justin Souther
Justin Souther rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2014
Anne rated it it was ok
May 14, 2016
Toraaki Villalpando
Toraaki Villalpando rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2016
Imron rated it really liked it
Jul 03, 2016
Shahzadi Ahmed
Shahzadi Ahmed rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2015
Jorune rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2015
Elisabeth Elle Sur
Elisabeth Elle Sur rated it it was ok
Apr 15, 2015
Chris rated it really liked it
May 05, 2015
Malice rated it it was ok
Aug 09, 2013
Jeff collins
Jeff collins rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2016
Dec 15, 2014 Madeleine rated it really liked it
Shelves: spanish, desert, 2014, btba
Found the plot v. difficult to follow, but the style is marvelous.
Miguel Rangel blanco
Miguel Rangel blanco rated it did not like it
Jul 28, 2013
Peter rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2016
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Carmen Boullosa (b. September 4, 1954 in Mexico City, Mexico) is a leading Mexican poet, novelist and playwright. Her work is eclectic and difficult to categorize, but it generally focuses on the issues of feminism and gender roles within a Latin American context. Her work has been praised by a number of prominent writers, including Carlos Fuentes, Alma Guillermoprieto and Elena Poniatowska, as ...more
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