Liliana's Invincible Summer
A Sister's Search for Justice
A haunting, unforgettable memoir about a beloved younger sister and the painful memory of her murder, from “one of Mexico’s greatest living writers” (Jonathan Lethem). I seek justice, I finally said. I seek justice for my sister. . . . Sometimes it takes twenty-nine years to say it out loud, to say it out loud on a phone call with a lawyer at the General Attorney’s office: I seek justice. September 2019. Cristina Rivera Garza travels from her home in Texas to Mexico City, in search of an old, unresolved criminal file. “My name is Cristina Rivera Garza,” she wrote in her request to the attorney general, “and I am writing to you as a relative of Liliana Rivera Garza, who was murdered on July 16, 1990.” It’s been twenty-nine years. Twenty-nine years, three months, and two days since Liliana was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend—and Cristina knows there is only a slim chance of recovering the file. And yet, inspired by feminist movements across the world and enraged by the global epidemic of femicide and intimate partner violence, she embarks on a path toward justice. Liliana’s Invincible Summer is the account—and the outcome—of that extraordinary quest. In luminous, poetic prose, Rivera Garza tells a singular yet universally resonant story: that of a spirited, wondrously hopeful young woman who tried to survive in a world of increasingly normalized gendered violence. Following her decision to recover her sister’s file, Rivera Garza traces the history of Liliana’s life, from her early romance with a handsome but possessive and short-tempered man, to that exhilarating final summer of 1990 when Liliana loved, thought, and traveled more widely and freely than she ever had before. Using her remarkable talents as an acclaimed scholar, novelist, and poet, Rivera Garza collected and curated evidence—handwritten letters, police reports, school notebooks, interviews with Liliana’s loved ones—to render and understand a life beyond the crime itself. Through this remarkable and genre-defying memoir, Rivera Garza confronts the trauma of losing her sister and examines from multiple angles how this tragedy continues to shape who she is—and what she fights for—today.