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Reviews for ONE LIFE

Boris Fishman

“As I followed Richard, the unraveling narrator of David Lida’s ONE LIFE, I kept seeing, peeking around the corner, the whiskey priest from Graham Greene’s THE POWER AND THE GLORY. They both minister to a population so forsaken it has lost faith in mercy. For the Mexicans of Lida’s novel, there are only labor and fate, the former measured by dollars, the latter doled out by the country that issues them. Which only makes Lida’s achievement more remarkable: To follow Richard is to relinquish Anglo time, Anglo logic, Anglo law — to say nothing about the assumptions that obtain about here and ‘down there.’ This is a bracing, harrowing, and, finally, poignant, novel, in which Lida succeeds in the writer’s noblest task: To render foreign lives so true that it becomes impossible to look away. Buy a copy for Donald Trump.”


Publishers Weekly

“The story succeeds as a dramatic tale of sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence, a thorough indictment of the U.S. and Mexican criminal justice systems, and a moody rumination on why we care about the lives of others.”

Francisco Goldman

“ONE LIFE will be deservedly praised for the light it trains on a previously unexposed dark corner of the primitively cruel and racist U.S. justice system. But David Lida also writes, in his remarkable novel, about a Mexico that even very few Mexican writers have any first-hand knowledge of, and does it in a way that readers on both sides of the border have rarely encountered.”


Kirkus Reviews

“Lida, himself a mitigation specialist and writer with deep ties to Mexico (where he lives), pours personal emotion into his story. In the process, he brings an elusive sense of dignity to a world where it is seemingly lost.”

Valerie Martin

“David Lida’s daring novel ONE LIFE will take you on a journey to darkest Mexico, where daily life is rich with irony and pathos, violence and humor, destitution and the homeliest of comforts. Richard, your travel guide, is on a mythic quest; he must descend to the underworld and come out with a story that will move the stone hearts of a Louisiana jury to mercy. His goal is to save the life of a condemned woman whose name, Esperanza, means hope. One life, his for hers. Gripping, suspenseful, worldly, and wise, this thought-provoking novel never lets up and the serious moral questions it raises resound long after the final page is turned.”


Daniel Alarcón

“David Lida’s ONE LIFE is simply revelatory. It’s Juan Rulfo meets Raymond Chandler, Roberto Bolaño meets Chester Himes. It’s the American justice system, exposed, and the inside story of the frenetic, cruel push and pull that lures Mexican migrants from of their homes to the US. I’ve never read a book quite like this, and neither have you.”


Maria Venegas

“David Lida’s ONE LIFE is full of suspense and beautifully described moments that often conjure Juan Rulfo’s PEDRO PARAMO. Like his courageous protagonist Richard, who often journeys to the most dismal and violent places in rural Mexico in search of an elusive history, Lida fearlessly explores the stark places that often shape the human spirit. “


Paul LaFarge

“I haven’t read a book this harrowing since Atticus Lish’s PREPARATIONS FOR THE NEXT LIFE. David Lida has written an extraordinary account of the cruelty, squalor, and occasional enchantment of life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. It is an indictment of a justice system mired in cynicism and bad faith, and an economic system that hits the poorest hardest, and repays ambition with betrayal; but at the same time, ONE LIFE is an incredible love story, not just in the romantic sense, but in the sense that it’s about coming to love life itself, despite everything.”

- Author of ANOTHER LIFE

About the Author

David Lida is the author of four books, including First Stop in the New World, a critically-acclaimed street-level panorama of contemporary Mexico City; Travel Advisory, a collection of short stories set in Mexico; and Las llaves de la ciudad, which he wrote in Spanish, a language he learned as an adult. When he’s not writing, David is a mitigation specialist. He conducts investigations for lawyers who defend undocumented Mexicans and other Latin Americans, who are in jail in the U.S. facing charges of capital murder and, as such, the death penalty. Using this work as an inspiration, David’s first novel, One Life, follows Richard, its protagonist, along the back roads of Mexico, as he tries to save the life of Esperanza, in jail in Louisiana, accused of murdering her 11-month-old baby.

Disponible en Español - Circunstancias Atenuantes

Luego de fracasar como novelista y como esposo, Richard decide trabajar para abogados que se especializan en defender a latinoamericanos que podrían recibir la pena de muerte en USA. Protegido por una gran dosis de cinismo, su labor consiste en viajar por los rincones más peligrosos de México a fin de reconstruir las historias de los acusados y encontrar razones para evitar que reciban la pena capital. Pero cuando le asignan el caso de Esperanza Morales, Richard no puede aceptar que una joven tan hermosa y triste sea una asesina. A fin de descubrir a quién protege, el investigador comprende que debe correr en busca de las pistas que lo aguardan en la Tierra Caliente michoacana, en la mortífera frontera norte de México, en la Nueva Orleans que no termina de reconstruirse luego del huracán Katrina e incluso en la mismísima Ciudad Juárez. Consciente de que no puede permitirse un nuevo fracaso y de que el cinismo no es la solución, Richard hará todo por detener a ese monstruo ciego llamado justicia.

Es autor de varios libros, entre ellos First Stop in the New World, Travel Advisory y Las llaves de la ciudad. Cuando no escribe, trabaja como mitigation specialist,  realizando investigaciones para abogados que defienden a latinoamericanos que enfrentan la pena de muerte en Estados Unidos.

Disponible en Planeta de Libros

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