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Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City
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Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  7 reviews

In the '80s, when author/photographer Kurt Hollander lived in New York and published The Portable Lower East, life there was particularly rough, and cops often drove yellow cabs as a method to surprise and roust its residents. Before the decade ended, Hollander moved to the equally rough climes of Mexico City, making his living writing and photographing for The Guardian, T
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Feral House
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2.92  · 
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 ·  38 ratings  ·  7 reviews

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Dec 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
The author begins with his own harrowing personal experience of intestinal illness and how it prompts his discovery that micro-organisms (i.e. gut bacteria) are extremely important and also extremely diverse, and then attempts to build on that---what exactly?, a kind of a diatribe about how environment is both shaped by and shapes human and other life? I don't really have a problem with that basic premise, except that there's no real way to prove it, or if it is provable, Mr. Hollander's ramblin ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, wtf, 2014
This is a strange book. I picked it up on a whim while walking through the library (the same time I got the bundle of mostly female memoirs I was reading earlier this year). While it claims to be an autobiography, it is only that for a bit, it's more the history of Mexico City, touching on whatever captured the author's fancy. Pulque is discussed at length, and the conquest by Cortez, and water issues and civil engineering.

He makes some sort of bizarre claims, like that the comfort foods you cr
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Macabre. Scintillating.

Hollander gives an in-depth and widespread look at history, culture, environment, and social psychology in Mexico from both an insider & outsider perspective, which makes this book such an interesting and enlightening read. His dark humor is also a huge plus.

Endnote: don't bother with the embalming process.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
A great concept, poorly executed. The editing is terrible, which is especially embarrassing for a small press (what else do they have to do all day?). The author brings up some fascinating subjects such as the changing Mexican diet and the cult of Santa Muerte, but he falls so often into Mike Davis-y screeds or colorless downloads of textbook facts that he fails to make any convincing point. The few tacked-on autobiographical sections are the most interesting parts. I like Hollander's photograph ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was fun (mostly because I already bought life insurance). The Aztec and now Mexican obsession with blood and guts and death was eye-opening. Most importantly, the news that hot chiles are natural predators for intestinal parasites means this guy is going to be sweating through dinner for the next month.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Odd, idiosyncratic, and could have used a copy editor (oh, the small presses...heroic, but understaffed), but this is what nonfiction can and should be: an essay, or attempt, to discover something unresolved.
Jerry Hanlon
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very informative on atypical details. This is not a puff piece commissioned by the mayor of Mexico City. Microorganisms are the least of it. From Montezuma's Aztec Two-Step to the latest in demographic and scientific inputs.
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“more than half of all houses in Mexico City are located in unhealthy, unsafe areas.” 0 likes
“In a study funded by IBM in 2011, Mexico City was considered the major city with the world’s worst traffic, as judged by drivers’ level of suffering, stress and loss of time, all consequences of speed bumps.” 0 likes
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