Isabel Cañas’ ‘Vampires of El Norte’ elegantly navigates a multiplicity of genres

Isabel Cañas’ novel ‘Vampires of El Norte’ effortlessly merges multiple genres, creating an engaging story that combines romance, horror, historical fiction, and a narrative on war.

Plot overview: Set in Mexico in the 1840s, the story follows Magdalena, a rancher’s daughter, who faces the threat of her family’s land being taken over by Anglo settlers.
* Magdalena, also known as Nena, experiences a mysterious “disease” called susto that leaves people devoid of blood and, often, close to death.
* The story also explores Nena’s complex relationship with her friend Néstor, who abandoned her after she was attacked and mistakenly thought to be dead.

Novel features: ‘Vampires of El Norte’ is notably a romantic narrative featuring two young characters whose budding romance was abruptly disrupted.
* The novel not only navigates through Néstor’s grief and Nena’s building resentment over the years but also captures their attempts to reconcile and rekindle their bond amidst the invasion of Mexico and the presence of deadly creatures in the desert.

On author’s style: Isabel Cañas not only manages to effectively blend horror tropes with romantic elements, but she also introduces authentic and unique elements into her writing.
* Cañas uses Spanish words in her narrative, giving it a sense of authenticity.
* The author subtly highlights the fears around invading ‘Anglos’ and vampires equally, adding dimensions of horror and social commentary to the novel.

Critical reception: The reviewer praises ‘Vampires of El Norte’ as being more mature and well-researched than Cañas’s previous novel ‘The Hacienda’, and anticipates readers looking forward to her next work.

View original article on NPR

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