Divided Island

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UPC: 9781646053148
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Authors: by Daniela Tarazona (Author), Lizzie Davis (Translator), Kevin Gerry Dunn (Translator)
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Deep Vellum Publishing (April 23, 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 148 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1646053141
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1646053148

From the winner of the 2022 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize: a fractal exploration of a woman's grief as she moves through disjointed segments of time.

Divided Island is the story of a woman with a neurological disorder. The day she goes in for the encephalogram that will lead to her diagnosis, she finds herself splitting in two. One of the two women she becomes decides to travel to an island to take her own life; the other remains behind. Scenes and images real and imagined gradually coalesce into the story of a life told from a singular location: a way of perceiving and describing the world, guided by cerebral dysrhythmia. Written in scraps and fragmented chapters, Divided Island is a nonlinear narrative best read as a poetic experience, in which the protagonist's memories and dreams recompose the world and, in doing so, trouble the very notion of the self.

This slim volume makes it abundantly clear why Daniela Tarazona belongs in the company of other Sor Juana winners like Valeria Luiselli, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Almudena Grandes.


"I don't think that there is now, in Mexico, a literary mind more original than Daniela Tarazona's. Her books are as disconcerting as they are brilliant. Her ability to generate powerful, enigmatic images in the brain of her readers, dazzling." —Álvaro Enrigue, author of Sudden Death

"This is a novel about the electricity that inhabits us, sometimes predictably, sometimes like a lightning storm in the brain. It is also about a writer’s relationship with her mother and about how fragile memory and language are. But above all it is about the terrible lucidity that comes with being abnormal, and how poetry is the only science that allows us to understand what someone like that sees.” —Yuri Herrera, author of Ten Planets

“The metamorphosis undertaken by Daniela Tarazona in The Animal on the Stone reaches its full form here, which, paradoxically, is not a form but rather its dissolution: a way of disappearing in words. The author has become writing. In her place, another woman who is pure language has left for an island with the intention of committing suicide. Or, rather, a woman—the same, another, which one, none—has not left for an island . . . I happen to understand and not understand this book. But it is in what I do not understand where I can best experience its atrocious lucidity as a chill of beauty and truth.” —Luis Felipe Fabre, author of Recital of the Dark Verses

“Closer to Lispector, Elizondo and Robbe-Grillet, as well as poetry as a concretion and reflection of the dissolution of the world, Divided Island traps us in its mystery without letting us out.” —Ana García Bergua, Letras Libres

“Daniela Tarazona’s aesthetic appeals to the depths, to the power of evocation in literature. Magnificent, difficult, full of emotion and meaning.” —Sara Poot Herrera, Andrea Jeftanovic, and Daniel Centeno Maldonado, Jury of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Literature Prize 2022

“It is the complexity of the writing of this book, its poetic dimension, that immerses us in the anxiety of living to such a degree that we want to die.” —Adriana Pacheco, Hablemos Escritoras

“This is writing to the limit, which is drawn on the sand of that island where Tarazona takes us and where we must allow ourselves to be led without logic or linearity, as when we are before a poem: surrendering ourselves to its mystery.” —Alfredo Núñez Lanz, Literal Magazine

About the Author

Daniela Tarazona (Mexico City, 1975) is the author of El animal sobre la piedra (Mexico, Almadía, 2008, and Argentina, Entropía, 2011), forthcoming as The Animal on the Rock from Deep Vellum. In 2012, she published her second novel El beso de la liebre (Alfaguara), which was shortlisted for the Las Américas Prize in 2013. In 2020, the book Clarice Lispector: La mirada en el jardín (Lumen) was published, co-written by Tarazona and Nuria Mel. Her work has been translated into English and French. She has been a fellow of Mexico's Young Artists program and is currently a member of the FONCA fund’s National Network of Artists. In 2011, she was recognized as one of twenty-five Latin American literary secrets by the Guadalajara International Book Fair. In 2022, she received the prestigious Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize for Divided Island.

Lizzie Davis is a translator, a writer, and former senior editor at Coffee House Press. Her recent translations include Juan Cárdenas's Ornamental (a finalist for the 2021 PEN Translation Prize) and The Devil of the Provinces; Elena Medel's The Wonders, cotranslated with Thomas Bunstead; and work by Valeria Luiselli, Pilar Fraile Amador, and Daniela Tarazona.

Kevin Gerry Dunn is a ghostwriter and Spanish/English translator whose book-length projects include Easy Reading by Cristina Morales (for which he received an English PEN Award and a PEN/Heim Grant) and work by Paul B. Preciado, María Bastarós, Elaine Vilar Madruga, Ousman Umar, Daniela Tarazona, Javier Castillo, Paco Cerdà, and Cristian Perfumo.