Writing for the senses: C.M. Mayo's "The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire"
Of course, C.M. Mayo's compelling novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is being pubbed on May 5th. I thought the Cinco de Mayo tie-in was cute ("You know -- like it's her name plus Mexicans? Get it?"), but then I read the book, and...well, I did get it. Down here in Southeast Texas, Cinco de Mayo is huge, rich, redolent. The flavor and scent of it is everywhere. The colors are audible. The history is as deep as a heavy sleep, filled with the weight and heat of real people. The same is true of C.M. Mayo's lushly landscaped writing. This book smells like Cinco de Mayo. It burns the inside of your mouth at times. There are cool breezes and uncomfortable warmth.
This is the perfect moment for this book to be read -- and widely, I hope -- because current events (viral and political) bring to light how little most North Americans understand and appreciate the culture and history of our neighbor.
From the press kit:
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court. Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsburg, as Emperor. A year later, the childless Maximilian took custody of the two year old, half-American, Prince Agustín de Iturbide y Green, making the toddler the Heir Presumptive. Maximilian’s reluctance to return the child to his distraught parents, even as his empire began to fall, and the Empress Carlota descended into madness, ignited an international scandal...Mayo writes for the senses. And for the ages.
On her "Madam Mayo" blog, C.M. Mayo says she lives "in Mexico City, Washington DC, and wherever else I happen to land." She writes like a traveler. Like a translator. The landscaping and language make place a central aspect of this novel, but Mayo is writing about human emotions that are notoriously disrespectful of border control: desire, greed, hubris, hunger for power, longing for love.
Click here to read an excerpt from Chapter One of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire.