Week 7: Vocabulary

by Meaghan Doyle

to decrease in force or intensity

lacking order, regularity, or definiteness

opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle

a feeling of repugnance toward something with a desire to avoid or turn from it

frenzied, crazed

a close-fitting ankle-length garment worn especially in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches by the clergy and by laypersons assisting in services

Mexico, slang, from Mexico City. Often used derogatorily by those living outside the capital

neighborhoods in Mexican cities, which have no jurisdictional autonomy or representation

a close friend

involving both cranium and brain

vine-like Central and South American, and West Indian climbing plants, reputed to have curative powers

a U-shaped bone or complex of bones that is situated between the base of the tongue and the larynx and that supports the tongue, the larynx, and their muscles

insultingly contemptuous in speech or conduct

a resonant or repetitive chant

having death as a subject

of or relating to a church parish

a retaliatory act

a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept and where the clergy vests

a cause of wide or great affliction

an action or process of swelling or becoming tumorous

Week 7: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

pp. 353-404

Colonia Las Flores —the body of Esperanza Gamaz Saldana is found here in January 1993; the first of the victims to be counted. (p. 353)

Colonia Mancera — Luisa Celina Vazquez is killed here at the end of January, 1993. (p. 354)

Calle El Arroyo (between Colinia Cuidad Nueva and Colonia Morelos)— in April 1993, a knife sharpener discovers a badly beaten woman and calls the police. She dies before they can help her. (p.356)

A dump between Colonia Las Flores and General Sepulveda industrial park — another woman’s body is found in May 1993. (p. 358)

Calle Jazmi­n in Colonia Carranza — Guadalupe Rojas is killed outside her apartment here in May 1993. (p. 359)

Cerro Estrella —the body of the last dead woman in May 1993 is found here. Police Chief Pedro Negrete visits the site alone. (p. 360)

The church of San Rafael on Calle Patriotas Mexicanos – the church desecrator appears here at the end of May 1993. (p. 361)

The church of San Tadeo in Colonia Kino – the church desecrator appears again here. (p. 365)

The church of Santa Catalina in Colonia Lomas del Toro – another church desecration happens here. (p. 367)

The church of Nuestro Señor Jesucristo in Colonia Reforma – the Penitent goes beserk here a few days later. (p. 368)

El Chile (illegal dump)—the body of Emilia Mena Mena is found here. (p. 372)

Ciudad Guzman —Emilia Mena Mena’s boyfriend was suspected of fleeing to his uncle’s house here. (p. 373)

Morelos Preparatory School — the janitor finds another woman’s body here. (p. 373)

Colonia Maytorena — Margarita López Santos’ body is found here in June 1993 after being missing for 40 days. (p. 375).

Mexico City —Sergio Gonzales writes for La Razón, a newspaper based here. (p. 376)

Colonia Michoacan — Elvira Campos lives here. (p. 383)

Villaviciosa — Pedro Negrete travels here to hire someone (Lalo Cura) for his friend Pedro Rengifo. (p. 384)

Colonia Lindavista — another dead woman is found in September 1993. (p. 389)

Lomas de Poniente — Feliciano José Sandoval, alleged killer of Gabriela Morón, was from here. (p. 390)

Arsenio Farrell industrial park – Marta Navales Gómez was found here in October 1993. (p. 391)

Francisco I School, near Colonia Álamos – a Salvadorean immigrant finds the body of Andrea Pacheco Martínez here in November. (p. 392)

Colonia Morelos – Ernesto Luis Castillo Jiménez is found wandering here after he murders his mother on December 20, 1993. (p. 393)

Colonia Madero – while Pedro Rengifo’s wife is visiting a friend here, Lalo Cura is involved in a shoot-out with two gunmen. (p. 394)

El Ajo, a bar off the Nogales highway—the first dead woman of 1994 is found here. (p. 399)

Paquita Avendaño in Hermosilla — Nati Gordillo and Rubí Campos are locked up here after being accused of the muder of Leticia Contreras Zamudio. (p. 401)

Colonia Veracruz – Penélope Méndez Becerra’s family lived here. (p. 403)

Week 7: Tidbits

Sometimes the only way to digest this book is in tiny chunks.

Throughout this section we get mentions of many of the colonias in Santa Teresa. Colonias usually have their own postal code, but are in not involved in municipal governance. The term barrio is more prevalent in the U.S. than in Mexico.

page 360: “He remembered that his son, who was studying in Phoenix, had once told him that plastic bags took hundreds, maybe thousands of years to disintegrate.” If this is May, 1993, then maybe those bags will be mostly disintegrated by say 2666?

page 372:

The dump didn’t have a formal name, because it wasn’t supposed to be there, but it had an informal name: it was called El Chile. During the day there wasn’t a soul to be seen in El Chile or the surrounding fields soon to be swallowed up by the dump. At night those who had nothing or less than nothing ventured out. In Mexico City they call them teporochos, but a teporocho is a survivor, a cynic and a humorist, compared to the human beings who swarmed alone or in pairs around El Chile.

Another name for these trash-pickers, unique to Mexico, is pepenadores. Teporocho is much more derogatory: it implies a homeless alcoholic, or a drunk layabout. What do you think?

This is really the first section where we start to see talk of “Indians” or native culture in and around the city of Santa Teresa. None of the critics are Mexicans, Amalfitano is from Spain, Fate is from the US, Archimboldi is not Mexican, only the crimes and the criminals are native to the land. Perhaps this section of the novel finally gives us a look at the “real” Santa Teresa. Here are a few of the mentions:
– Page 361: “a young woman with Indian features went in to confess.”
– Page 366: “There used to be an Indian settlement here, remembered the inspector.”
– Page 368: “Three priests and two young Papago Indian seminarians who where studying anthropology and history at the University of Santa Teresa slept in an adjacent building.
– Page 394: “a Yaqui Indian who almost never talked.”

The most famous Yaqui Indian has got to be Don Juan.

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