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Publisher's Summary

At once intimate and wide-ranging, and as enthralling, surprising, and vivid as the place itself, this is a uniquely eye-opening tour of one of the great metropolises of the world, and its largest Spanish-speaking city.

Horizontal Vertigo: The title refers to the fear of ever-impending earthquakes that led Mexicans to build their capital city outward rather than upward. With the perspicacity of a keenly observant flaneur, Juan Villoro wanders through Mexico City seemingly without a plan, describing people, places, and things while brilliantly drawing connections among them. In so doing he reveals, in all its multitudinous glory, the vicissitudes and triumphs of the city ’s cultural, political, and social history: from indigenous antiquity to the Aztec period, from the Spanish conquest to Mexico City today - one of the world’s leading cultural and financial centers.

In this deeply iconoclastic book, Villoro organizes his text around a recurring series of topics: “Living in the City”, “City Characters”, “Shocks”, “Crossings”, and “Ceremonies”. What he achieves, miraculously, is a stunning, intriguingly coherent meditation on Mexico City’s genius loci, its spirit of place.

©2021 Juan Villoro (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Villoro recounts his adventures with a mix of irony and empathy, with a sense of humor and a feeling for the absurd. He is exquisitely attuned to the capital’s contradictions and nuances, and he knows how to listen to its inhabitants. There are deeply moving moments in this book.” (The New York Times Book Review)

"One of Mexico’s most celebrated contemporary writers offers an affectionate exploration of the country’s capital city. [Villoro] does not shy away from issues of poverty, class, and gender, and the result is an enthralling, often funny depiction of a city that ‘overflowed urbanism and installed itself in mythology.’” (The New Yorker

"Horizontal Vertigo is the best - wittiest, wisest, most detailed and enlightened - book I've read about Mexico City. It is both deeply personal and scholarly, and most of all humane and humorous - Juan Villoro's triumph as a chronicler of Mexican life." (Paul Theroux, author of On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

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Terrible.

The book itself is disorganized, and does not follow any time line. I grew up in Mexico City, what he describes is a very small portion of the city and his population, which may be what he was exposed to. The reader with a Mexican accent is also disgusting; if it is an English translation it should be read by somebody that can read and pronounce the language correctly. In summary the book is terrible and not factual. I felt I wasted my time listening to it, had to make an effort to finish it!!

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Mexico City is endlessly fascinating.

I lived in Mexico City for 40 years and this story brought back memories of the diversity and color and contrasts of one of the world's largest city. The author captures both past and present in an authentic rendering of the city. The place,.people and the colors and flavors are all brought to life in this wonderful book. I guess that the story is more relevant to those who have known
this sprawling urban landscape.

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Impressive

The most complex city in the planet found a writer who dared to explain it in all its hysterical majesty.