Against the charred tapestry of the Zapatista guerrilla uprising of January 1994, personal histories intersect in Graciela Limón’s newest novel, Erased Faces. Weaving the threads of Lacandón myth and history with the events culminating in the guerrilla uprising, Limón creates a rich fabric that restores an identity to those rendered invisible, or whose faces were erased, by years of oppression.
Adriana Mora, a Latina photojournalist born and raised in Los Angeles, haunted by childhood memories of her parents’ death, abuse and displacement, journeys south to Chiapas, Mexico, in search of images to record on film. Initially, Mora finds a place in a small village where her path also crosses that of Chan K’in, the aged Lacandón shaman and interpreter of his people’s mysticism. His stories recount the heroism of indigenous peoples of the past and offers possible keys to the resolution of the nightmares that plague her.
In this village, Adriana meets Juana Galvez, a woman whose own heroism mirrors that of the women that Chan K’in describes. Adriana is immediately attracted to the small indigenous woman and her cause, so she follows Juana into the mountains where she is drawn into the tumultuous events of 1994, the brief years that follow, and the stories of the insurgents who fight for freedom.
Erased Faces is a story about forbidden love set against the backdrop of a complicated war. Limón expertly drafts images of the racism, exploitation, and class division that plague the region and the lengths that the impoverished indigenous people take to break the yoke of universal oppression that rests heavy on their shoulders.