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Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Tony Cohan’s On Mexican Time, his chronicle of discovering a new life in the small Mexican mountain town of San Miguel de Allende, has beguiled readers and become a travel classic. Now, in Mexican Days, point of arrival becomes point of departure as—faced with the invasion of the town by tourists and an entire Hollywood movie crew, a magazine editor’s irresistible invitati ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Christine Zibas
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even if you think you know Mexico, I guarantee there is magic to be discovered in this book. I find myself at the end of reading Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico by Tony Cohan with a slip of paper filled with notes of things to look up on the Internet or read more about. Every chapter of Tony Cohan's book seems to pique a new interest, whether it's son jaracho music, ancient Mayan temple lore, or prominent Mexican artists and dreamers like Francisco Toledo and Edward James. Your l ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a pretty good read. I say pretty good because the writing is a bit too flowery and over the top for me. There are just way too many words for the points being made. That said, the author's most famous work, On Mexican Time, is one of the reads that got me thinking about moving to Mexico. This one has me thinking about exploring Mexico, seeing more of the interior, the older cities and cultural centers. If you're interested in visiting Mexico as a tourist, I highly recommend it. As a way ...more
Mark Barr
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it
A trifle self-serving at times, but this guy can tell a story. Plus, I find it pathetically exciting to see places I've visited show up in the book.
Jeaninne Escallier Kato
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I adore Americans who love Mexico. It is my last and final goal in this life to be an ambassador for Mexico in all of my travels and writings about this land built on ancient civilizations. Tony Cohen, a resident of San Miguel De Allende, does a brilliant job of bringing us close to the magic and beauty that is Mexico. He writes as if he were painting pictures of a vast country with a myriad of juxtapositions in the most dramatic of ways, comparing mountain, ocean and desert regions with respect ...more
David Rudin
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
What could be better than to explore hidden jewels of natural and cultural splendor in mysterious Mexico? And to do it with a writer who is a sharp observer of people and places?
Cohan picks up where he left off with On Mexican Time, but this time he’s exploring well outside the bounds of San Miguel de Allende. From Guanajuato to Oaxaca, the Sierra Gorda, Xilitla, Xalapa, Xico, the Yucatan, Chiapas and the list goes on. This book quickly went from interesting travelogue to outline for my future t
Tom Romig
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fine, engaging writing about Mexican history, culture, and, in particular, people by a wonderfully perceptive author. His honest and incisive reflections on relationships, wanderlust, and many other topics are woven into his story of travels around the country he loves, making the work feel much like a novel.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not as good as his other book, which I read a few weeks ago, but still well written and engaging. Kind of strange to read a book by a white american who is mad that too many other rich white americans are moving into his town in Mexico, gentrifying everything (ironic a bit?). Other than that glaring undertone to the story, I found it enjoyable and just what i expected.
Mary  Mendoza
A lyrical account of Mr. Cohan's journeys through some remote areas in Mexico. As always with Mr. Cohan, the research is meticulous, and he has a gift for making historical facts fascinating. Mexican Days is at times amusing, at times poignant. I recommend it highly.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A view of some of the places that we visited while in Mexico and I learned more information about SAN Miguel de Allende and other places and some of the more scenic and historic areas plus tidbits about the author's life in Mexico.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Wasn't a huge fan of the author's America-bashing: Mexico and the US can both be great places to live and travel. I enjoyed this book overall though, and loved the way the author captured the romantic, literary, historic sides of Mexico.
Qhenn Manns
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did not find this flowery nor over-written, as stated by others. Read Berlinski’s “Tour of the Calculus” if you need to see how writing can kill a wonderful subject. This was a nice tale showing us a little bit more of Mexico than others have.
Charlotte Atún
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I couldn’t believe that an author could make Mexico boring, but Mr. Cohan has achieved this feat. The book was dreary, dry, hollow, like a long, fidgety retelling of a self-imposed forced march. Very disappointing after the joyful, soulful “On Mexican Time”.
Hannah Avery
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: moderate-books
I liked this book because I love Mexico! I didn't like it quite as much as his first book though.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it made me feel like a traveler.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed his writing style. Nice armchair travel read in enchanting Mexico.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tony Cohan is that expat friend of yours who will give you a great story telling about his life living in the heart of Mexico. It's from the heart and amicable as he introduces to a few people he encounters that makes Mexico very interesting.

Needless to say, it's one of the best travel memoirs I have read.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Mexican Days is by the author of On Mexican Tine, which I enjoyed more. Here he is hired to see what is going on in a resurging Mexico and so leaves his digs in San Miguel and travels to a number of sites in south Mexico, for a fiesta near Vera Cruz, a rebuilt resort in the mountains, the ruins of Palenque and so on. He knows a lot of artists and stays with many of them. He is a very florid writer and this lends color to his descriptions of places and atmosphere. I think he does tend to overwork ...more
Lyn Fuchs
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Would you prefer to wander around Mexico with a horny drunken clown or a literary cosmopolitan? Would you prefer to meet narcos and hookers or journalists and artists? If the former appeals, my book Fresh Wind & Strange Fire will be out soon. If the latter entices, you need not wait. Tony Cohan's book Mexican Days is kind of like my work - but with some class.

Exhibiting a large vocabulary rather than a huge phallus, Tony treks a route similar to mine, including Mexico City, Tlacotalpan, Oaxaca,
Kris Holland
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travelogues
I really enjoyed the author's first book, On Mexican Time, & assumed this one would be a good read, as well. It wasn't. The author comes off as very pretentious; I really don't care about all the important people he knows throughout Mexico, and don't care for the attitude.

Cohan writes about how San Miguel de Allende has changed, and is now populated with gringos & tourists, but he himself IS very much a part of this problem. The author just had a very condescending tone for much of the book & I
Kathy  Petersen
Cohan has a profitable wanderlust - profitable because he writes it for a living, profitable for his readers because he takes us on a peripatetic journey through much of Mexico, the real Mexico, even the "real" Cancun before it became the new Florida. Along the way he traipses after such characters as Frida Kahlo, John Huston, and local people just as interesting. I was somewhat put off by all the Mexican place names and phrases; but that's my fault, not Cohan's, as I would stop to attempt the p ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mexico
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read "On Mexican Time" first, as the familiarity with Tony Cohan's life and story would have added to this book. Without reading "On Mexican Time" first, this book comes off as a rather self-centered travelogue (that has not aged well) by a pretentious author. His writing style is so self-involved as to be distracting; even for a book about the author's own travels it's extreme. He is also rather repetitive in his stories, phrasing, and even w ...more
Jim Rymsza
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Mexico. I deeply miss going there, with all the drug violence and all. I've hesitated to take chances with my family and it breaks my heart. I miss Colima, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Jalisco. I want to go to Guanajuato and Chiapas and Merida. I miss the fact that I am missing them.

Tony Cohan's "Mexican Days" assuaged some of that longing for me. The book is a whimsical trot through Mexico, many of locales which were unfamiliar to me, by a man on a literary magazine assignment. He weaves pe
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Kat's review pre-read: This book is set in the town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Anyone who gets the opportunity to go, please do. The colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and inviting people are what I cherish from my visit. I only hope the book lives up to my memories.

Kat's review post-read: Ok, so I finally finished this book and it was nothing like I thought it would be. Yes, the paragraphs illustrated with quaint villages and colorful people. However without a significant plot, it
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written travel book about Mexico. I liked it because Tony Cohan takes us off the beaten path to places that most of us, including seasoned Mexico travelers like me, have never experienced. I took the book along on a memorable trip to the Sierra Gorda in Queretaro (a UNESCO world heritage site in a remote area of central Mexico where Father Junipero Serra built five missions) and to Xilitla, in the state of San Luis Potosi, where an excentric Englishman, Edward James, built a remar ...more
Mar 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
I read this book on the bus ride from Merida to Cancun. It was a good enough book to pass the time, but the author is extremely annoying. What annoyed me the most is that he throws in a spanish word in italics every paragraph. Ok, I get it, you lived in Mexico, you picked up on some Spanish. His tone is condensending and his "adventures" are boring. This is not a good book for someone who actually wants to learn something about Mexican culture. However, if you are stuck on a bus for four hours a ...more
Kipp Davis
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I found Tony Cohan's writing to be very descriptive and colorful and at times very exciting to read. Since I was trying to learn some Spanish at the same time, his peppering in of Spanish words was a welcome element to me. I love to travel and was drawn into each of the villages he visited, almost as if I were there myself. I looked forward to each place as I moved through the book. I will say that it started to drag as the book came to a close and I thought it ended with more of a whimper, but ...more
May 01, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked this one up in Montreal for two dollars. So far, the author tries to write in the Paul Theroux mode of travel writing. The author sometimes uses Spanish rather gratuitously - why use the Spanish word for screwdriver, for example? I felt that Tony Cohan talked about himself rather too much. If you choose a random page in the novel, you will find a plethora of "I's". The book did give me some sense, however, of how vast and how interesting Mexico can be. I will be back!
Barron Fujimoto
The author's descriptions of the towns he visits was interesting, but the lack of a strong plot and infrequent character interaction left me bored. The two parts that interested me (his uncertain relationship with Masako and the mysterious past of the groupie) didn't seem like they were going anywhere. I gave up after about 100 pages. Just felt like I was wasting time when I could be enjoying other books.
Luz  C. Johnson
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Tony Cohan has very kindly indulged my homesick cravings for Mexico. Though he mentions my hometown, Cuernavaca, just once, he does cover the period of time I left Mexico and fills out the blanks of some interesting political events I missed in my absence. He captures unexpected aspects of Mexican culture, and covers regions I haven't have the opportunity of visiting. I consider him a savvy gringo of the Heart of Mexico.
Mar 26, 2016 added it
A sort-of sequel to On Mexican Time; Cohan, on the invite of an editor, stretches his travels beyond San Miguel, learning more about the country while the world transforms in the wake of 9/11. Again, a beautiful story of Mexican history and culture, as well as time capsule on dated travels. A bit more academic than his earlier book- readers will be confused if not familiar with arts, film and music.
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Tony Cohan grew up in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where at the age of fourteen he made his debut as a jazz musician. After attending Stanford and the University of California he spent two years in Europe and North Africa, performing with jazz artists Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell and blind Catalan pianist Tete Monteliu. Returning to San Francisco, he worked briefly at the University of California Press ...more

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