San Antonio Book Festival - Elizabeth Gonzalez James
Nancy Rothstein
Book Festival Author

Elizabeth Gonzalez James

Elizabeth Gonzalez James is the author of the novel Mona at Sea and the chapbook Five Conversations About Peter Sellers. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Idaho Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Rumpus, storySouth, PANK, and elsewhere, and have received numerous Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. She was Interviews Editor at The Rumpus, and a former contributor to Ploughshares. Originally from South Texas, Elizabeth now lives with her family in Massachusetts. The Bullet Swallower is her new novel.

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Book by Elizabeth Gonzalez James

  • The Bullet Swallower: A Novel by Elizabeth Gonzalez James

    The Bullet Swallower: A Novel

    In 1895, Antonio Sonoro is the latest in a long line of ruthless men. He’s good with his gun and is drawn to trouble but he’s also out of money and out of options. A drought has ravaged the town of Dorado, Mexico, where he lives with his wife and children, and so when he hears about a train laden with gold and other treasures, he sets off for Houston to rob it—with his younger brother Hugo in tow. But when the heist goes awry and Hugo is killed by the Texas Rangers, Antonio finds himself launched into a quest for revenge that endangers not only his life and his family, but his eternal soul.

    In 1964, Jaime Sonoro is Mexico’s most renowned actor and singer. But his comfortable life is disrupted when he discovers a book that purports to tell the entire history of his family beginning with Cain and Abel. In its ancient pages, Jaime learns about the multitude of horrific crimes committed by his ancestors. And when the same mysterious figure from Antonio’s timeline shows up in Mexico City, Jaime realizes that he may be the one who has to pay for his ancestors’ crimes, unless he can discover the true story of his grandfather Antonio, the legendary bandido El Tragabalas, The Bullet Swallower.

    A family saga that’s epic in scope and magical in its blood, and based loosely on the author’s own great-grandfather, "The Bullet Swallower" tackles border politics, intergenerational trauma, and the legacies of racism and colonialism in a lush setting and stunning prose that asks who pays for the sins of our ancestors, and whether it is possible to be better than our forebears.

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