A junkie looking for one last fix in a town full of ghosts .
This is a ghost story. A junkie has gone to El Zapotal to die – to rent a room in this crumbling backwater, melt into one last fix, and not come back. For someone so ready to no longer be alive, though, he can’t stop clinging to the past. His old dog, Kid, who he abandoned. His love, Valerie, who he introduced to drugs. There’s no such thing as a good memory.
El Zapotal doesn’t want him either. The people aren’t welcoming, the streets are empty except for strays, and he’s having trouble pacing his supply. As the drugs run out, the line between what’s real and what’s not blurs to the point of illegibility, and we’re left wandering a tenderly described hinterland of despair, hunger, and regret. García Elizondo has given us an homage to Pedro Páramo , a descent for the ages, a long goodbye with no clear line between the living and dead.
Mateo García Elizondo (Mexico City, 1987) is a screenwriter and author. His work has appeared in magazines such as Nexos , Revista Casa de las Américas , Quimera, Origami, and Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos . He has written scripts for film and graphic narrative, including the screenplay for the feature film Desierto (2015), which won the FIPRESCI prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. His debut novel, Last Date in El Zapotal, won the City of Barcelona Award for fiction written in Spanish. In 2021 he was listed by Granta magazine as one of the world's best writers in Spanish under thirty-five years of age.
Robin Myers is a New York-born poet and translator. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming from the_Kenyon Review_ , the_Harvard Review_ , Two Lines , The Offing ,Journal , Asymptote , the Los Angeles Review of Books , and Inventory . In 2009, she was named a fellow of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA); in 2014, she was awarded a residency at the Banff Literary Translation Centre (BILTC); and in 2017, and she was selected to participate in the feminist translation colloquium A-Fest. Recent book-length translations include Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, Animals at the End of the World by Gloria Susana Esquivel, In Vitro by Isabel Zapata and Bariloche by Andrés Neuman.
"One of the most promising first novels to be published recently in Spanish." —La Vanguardia
"Reading Last Date in El Zapotal, more an extended suffering than a detached joy, is experienced in the body and hunkers down in the mind. To read his first novel and not feel implicated is useless; to pretend that you can is just another hallucination." —Gatopardo
"‘I came to El Zapotal to die once and for all.’ These are the words with which Mateo García Elizondo opens his literary debut entitled Last Date in El Zapotal (Anagrama, 2019). A novel that from the outset evokes the beginning of Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo (1955) and which as it develops suggests references to Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano (1947)." —apolorama.com
"García Elizondo, with an accomplished literary and creative oeuvre at such a young age, offers in this his first novel such an attractive narrative that readers will remember his name and look forward to his future publications." —El diario vasco
"Writing of a crafted, expressive intensity that recounts the hellish and tormenting passage of a being who moves between life and death in a visionary climax, in this novel of excess that unfolds in a dark fog." —El ideal gallego
"Last Date in El Zapotal describes this descent into hell with a language that creates images of enormous expressive intensity and deftly resolves this story in Zapotal, where the protagonist will encounter ‘a reflection of the isolation and emptiness inside me’." —El diario vasco
"Elizondo García is carving his own path at the forefront of a burgeoning scene in Spanish language literature.’" —The Guardian
"Last Date in El Zapotal encompasses the evils of our time: violence, weariness, unease and oblivion." —El Informador MX
"The whispers of language trap the reader in the webs of rumours that provide an inquiring keenness to a narrator who is ‘dead in life’ (…) The power of this dying enunciation is everything in this fiction. A problematic, phantasmatic, strangely accurate enunciation that gives an account of how the dead speak, what the bardo is, or how life is lived in a dead-end town, a town that ‘The whispers of language trap the reader in the webs of rumours that provide an inquiring keenness to a narrator who is ‘dead in life’ (…) The power of this dying enunciation is everything in this fiction. A problematic, phantasmatic, strangely accurate enunciation that gives an account of how the dead speak, what the bardo is, or how life is lived in a dead-end town, a town that ‘is just a reflection of the isolation and emptiness inside me’." —El periódico