I love the idea of visiting Mexico, so I love reading books set in Mexico. It is a country with a rich cultural heritage, fascinating history, and breathtaking landscapes. It is no wonder that Mexico has inspired countless books, both fiction and non-fiction, over the years. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best books set in Mexico that capture the spirit of this diverse and vibrant country.
Books Set in Mexico
The Murmur of Bees – Sofía Segovia
One of the best books I read among books set in Mexico. From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own.
As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can―visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats―both human and those of nature―Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.
Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable. For the fans of magical realism among books set in Mexico.
Pedro Páramo – Juan Rulfo
Swearing to his dying mother that he’ll find the father he has never met, a certain Pedro Páramo, Juan Preciado sets out across the barren plains of Mexico for Comala, the hallucinatory ghost town his father presided over like a feudal lord. Between the realms of the living and the dead, in fragments of dreams and the nightly whispers of Comala’s ghosts, there emerges the tragic tale of Pedro Páramo and the town whose every corner holds the taint of his rotten soul. A huge one among books set in Mexico.
Down the Rabbit Hole – Juan Pablo Villalobos
Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, dealers, and the odd corrupt politician or two.
Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly-comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish. An exciting read among books set in Mexico.
The Savage Detectives – Roberto Bolaño
Winner of the Herralde Prize and the Rómulo Gallegos Prize. Natasha Wimmer’s translation of The Savage Detectives was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the Washington Post and the New York Times.
New Year’s Eve 1975, Mexico City. Two hunted men leave town in a hurry, on the desert-bound trail of a vanished poet.
Spanning two decades and crossing continents, theirs is a remarkable quest through a darkening universe – our own. It is a journey told and shared by a generation of lovers, rebels and readers, whose testimonies are woven together into one of the most dazzling Latin American novels of the twentieth century—an excellent one among books set in Mexico.
Loop – Brenda Lozano
One of my faves among books set in Mexico. Recovering from an unspecified accident, the narrator of Loop finds herself in waiting rooms of different kinds: airport departure lounges, doctors’ surgeries, and above all at home, awaiting the return of her boyfriend, who has travelled to Spain following the death of his mother.
Loop is a love story told from the perspective of a contemporary Penelope who, instead of weaving and unravelling her shroud, writes and erases her thoughts in her ‘ideal’ notebook.
At once, funny and thought-provoking, her thoughts range from her stationery preferences to the different scales on which life is lived, while a cast of unlikely characters cross the page, from Proust to a mysterious dwarf, from a dreamy cat to David Bowie singing ‘Wild is the Wind’. Written in an assured, irreverent style, Loop is the journal of an absence, one in which the most minute or whimsical observations open up universes.
Combining aphoristic fragments with introspective narrative, and evoking Italo Calvino and Fernando Pessoa in its playfulness and wry humour, this original reflection on relationships, solitude and the purpose of writing offers a glimpse of contemporary life in Mexico City, while asking what it really means to find our place in the world. A beautiful read among books set in Mexico.
The Hummingbird’s Daughter – Luis Alberto Urrea
It is 1889. Civil war is brewing in Mexico, and sixteen-year-old Teresita has just woken from the strangest dream – a dream that she has died. Only it was not a dream. This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal – but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has become the Saint of Cabora.
The Hummingbird’s Daughter is the story of a girl and a country grappling with their destiny. Two decades in the writing, the result is an epic, dazzling novel of love and loss, joy and sacrifice—a beautiful read among books set in Mexico.
Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
A modern classic among books set in Mexico. It is the fiesta ‘Day of the Dead’ in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac. In the shadow of the volcano, ragged children beg coins to buy skulls made of chocolate, ugly pariah dogs roam the streets and Geoffrey Firmin – ex-consul, ex-husband, an alcoholic and a ruined man – is living out the last day of his life.
Drowning himself in mescal while his former wife and half-brother look on, powerless to help him, the consul has become an enduring tragic figure. As the day wears on, it becomes apparent that Geoffrey must die. It is his only escape from a world he cannot understand. His story, the image of one man’s agonised journey towards Calvary, became a prophetic book for a whole generation—an interesting one among books set in Mexico.
Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
One of the most popular books set in Mexico in recent years. When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.
Noemí’s chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin.
Tough and smart, she possesses an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness—an exciting one among books set in Mexico.
The Labyrinth of Solitude – Octavio Paz
As well as the nine essays on his country’s psyche and history that make up ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’, this highly acclaimed volume also includes ‘The Other Mexico’, Paz’s heartfelt response to the government massacre of over three hundred students in Mexico City in 1968, and ‘Return to the Labyrinth of Solitude’, in which he discusses his famous work with Claude Fell. The two final essays contain further reflections on the Mexican government. A must-read among books set in Mexico.
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the De la Garza family. As the youngest daughter, Tita is forbidden by Mexican tradition to marry. Instead, she pours all of her emotions into her delicious recipes, which she shares with readers along the way.
When Tita falls in love with Pedro, he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. Unfortunately, he’s married to her sister…
Filled with recipes, longing and bittersweet humour, this charming story of one family’s life in turn-of-the-century Mexico has captivated readers all over the world and was made into an award-winning film—one of the most popular books set in Mexico.
These are just a few examples of the many great books set in Mexico. Each of them offers a unique perspective on the country, its culture, and its people. Whether you are interested in Mexican history, cuisine, folklore, or literature, there is sure to be a book that will capture your imagination and take you on a journey to the heart of Mexico.
Check out my other lists about books!
- 10 Uplifting Books
- Great Novels by Poets
- Feel-Good Cozy Mystery Series
- Summer Books – 20 Sexy Novels
- Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
- Winter Books- 20 Atmospheric Novels
- Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
- 20 Captivating Gothic Books
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- 20 Best Campus and Academic Novels
- 25 Intriguing Dark Academia Books
- 20 Literary Romance Novels
- 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books
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- Standalone Fantasy Books
- Fantasy Book Series
- Novels Based on Mythology and Legends
- Tarot Books to Learn From
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- Books for Book Clubs
- Magical Realism Books
- Mindfulness Books
- Books Set in Museums
- Books Set in Hotels
- Books Set on Islands
- Books Set in Forests
- Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
- Novels Set in Bookshops
- Novels Set in Libraries
- Books Set in the English Countryside
- Books Set in Edinburgh
- Books Set in Oxford
- Books Set in Istanbul
- Books Set in Rome
- Books Set in Portugal
- Books Set in Egypt
- Books Set in Greece
- Books Set in Mexico
- Books Set in South Africa
- Novels Under 100 Pages
- Novels Under 150 Pages
- Novels Under 200 Pages
- Novels About Older Woman, Younger Man Relationships
- Novels About Fortune Telling
- Novels About Translators and Interpreters
- Novels About Books
- Best Books About Books
- Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
- Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
- Novels About Marriage
- Novels About Food
- Novels About Writers
- Novels About Music
- Books About Witches
- Books About Divorce
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- Best Books About Birds
- Best Books About Walking
- Best Books About Tea
- Novels About Scents & Perfume
Are there any books set in Mexico you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?