The People of Paper
is the debut novel of Salvador Plascencia
. It was first published as a part of the Rectangulars line of McSweeney's Books. In form the novel owes a debt to a wide variety of experimental fiction from the magical realism of Latin American writers, to the Beat writings of William S. Burroughs, to the American postmodernists of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in its turn towards metafiction. The book is notable for its unique layout, featuring columns of text running in different directions across the page, blacked out sections, and a name that has literally been cut out of the novel. The central events depicted in the novel are variously described as a war against Saturn, against sadness, and against omniscient narration. The leader of this war is Federico de la Fe, a Mexican man who is abandoned by his wife Merced due to his chronic bed-wetting. As a result of his remorse, he falls into a depression which he cures through "burn-collecting," or burning parts of his body. After leaving Mexico bound for the United States, Federico de la Fe and his daughter Little Merced settle in the small flower-growing town of El Monte. There, Federico de la Fe enlists the help of the town and a local gang of flower-pickers, who call themselves the El Monte Flores, in order to combat the influence of Saturn.
The novel was republished in paperback by Mariner Books in 2006.
About the Author
Salvador Plascencia is an American writer, born 1976 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Plascencia family eventually settled near Los Angeles in the city of El Monte when he was eight years old. Plascencia holds a B.A. in English from Whittier College and an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University. The recipient of a National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts Award in Fiction in 1996 and the Peter Neagoe Prize for Fiction in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, its first fellow in fiction.
His first published fiction appeared in McSweeney's Issue 12. McSweeney's also published his first novel, The People of Paper, in 2005.
In its January 2010 issue, Poets and Writers named Plascencia one of the "Fifty Most Inspiring Living Authors in the World."