Reviews & Blurbs & Interviews & Essays &

  • May 22nd, 2018: Conjunctions published the opening chapter of my 3rd novel in progress as part of their Sanctuary issue.

  • May 17th, 2018: Entrevista con El Pais de España. 

  • May 6th, 2018: Reseña de Los revolucionarios lo intentan de nuevo en La Hora de Ecuador.

  • March 29th, 2018: Reseña de Los revolucionarios lo intentan de nuevo en El Comercio de Ecuador.  

  • February 11th, 2018: Entrevista con Radio Contagio de Colombia. 

  • May 5th: Included by Hay Festival in Bogota 39, a selection of the next wave of Latin American writers, which takes place every 10 years.

  • February 25th, review in Los Angeles Review of Books: "Cardenas’s spellbinding book should appeal to McOndo devotees and Bolaño fans alike. But The Revolutionaries Try Again taps into something more comprehensive and universally conscientious."

  • February 20th, review in The Kenyon Review: "Cardenas reveals, via some stunning and shapeshifting prose, that politics in Ecuador isn’t as straightforward as it appears on its surface, and very often it amounts to little more than a vain exercise in egobuilding and self-fantasy."

  • January 9th, Briefly Noted in The New Yorker: "Cardenas hopscotches across time, shedding forms from section to section, and extending a single sentence over twenty pages. There’s an infectious warmth in the recollections of the friends’ school days, and the prose often draws blood."

  • December 13th, Best of 2016 in The New Yorker: "Cardenas’s gift is to show, through long, brilliant sentences, the charm of inaction and delinquency."

  • December 9th, Review in New York Times: "This debut novel, 12 years in the writing, is a welcome example of how fiction can have urgency, how it’s still one of the greatest forms for tackling the incommensurable. This is an original, insubordinate novel, like his grammar, like his syntax, but fabulously, compellingly readable."

  • December 9th, Best of 2016 in The Believer: "The best book of the year and the reason this list exists is also proof that James Joyce is alive and well and splitting his time between Ecuador and the Bay Area."

  • November 2nd, Interview in Words Without Borders: "I have come to see the first novel in many ways as a place where I was able to develop the type of sentence that I felt I was looking for, that was flexible enough to accommodate everything that I find important—memories and dialogue and imaginary memories and imaginary dialogue and references, all of it, right?"

  • October 28th, Review in Electric Literature: "Wouldn’t that be fantastic, if this dense, brilliant, bilingual novel by an immigrant is what the future of American literature looks like?"

  • October 27th, Review in Culture Trip: "The Ecuadorian-born, American-educated novelist Mauro Javier Cardenas is a marvel of bilingualism, and his astonishing new novel The Revolutionaries Try Again is a testament to Cardenas’s Nabokovian verbosity."

  • October 25th, Interview in Guernica: "If you think of fiction as a way of thinking deeply about the world, not only as a writer, but hopefully also as a reader, then it becomes important to make sure we’re undercutting these notions we have about what it is to be good in the world."

  • October 14th, Review in Dallas Morning News: "The Revolutionaries Try Again aches for something lost without pining desperately. It acknowledges the futility in reaching for what's gone, and the familiar impulse to try anyhow."

  • October 12th, Literary Lists: The Revolutionaries Try Again on Nine Books to Read for Latinx Heritage Month at Lithub and 10 Great Books About Going Home at Electric Literature.

  • September 28th, Review in The Millions: "But what Cardenas does so adeptly in his debut novel is highlight conditions against which feelings of pointlessness emerge in the first place. Economic, political and social violence are senseless, and render us unable to tell neat linear narratives about injustice and protest. We’re left with montage, one that resists neat stories about revolutionaries taking on their oppressors, left with weeping statues of baby Jesus, rape, false accusations, and economic sanctions."

  • September 25th, 2016, Front Page Author Profile in the entertainment section of the San Francisco Chronicle: "Told in winding sentences propelled by interjections and an almost manic energy, The Revolutionaries Try Again is both ambitious and irreverent, its language as suffused with childhood jest as with profound, urgent questions of purpose."

  • September 13th, Review in Music & Literature: "Filtering the saga through Cardenas’s defiantly experimental writing style, means readers are left with an extraordinary, unapologetic book, an almost unbelievable debut."

  • September 11th, Article in La Tercera, a major newspaper in Chile: Edmundo Paz Soldan on The Revolutionaries Try Again: "Pero Cárdenas no se contenta con narrar esa historia de amigos que podría ser, con su generosa carga de emoción y empatía y humor, una crítica a ese sueño tan latinoamericano de intervenir de manera mesiánica en los destinos del país, sino que narra las interferencias a ese sueño, las voces del pueblo que se cuelan para contar la historia verdaderamente."

  • September 9th, Review in the San Francisco Chronicle: "This is a book at once haunting and haunted, rippling with the ghosts of Latin America’s atrocities, disappointments, colonial strangleholds, insurgencies and fierce hopes, a book at once specific to Ecuador’s historical realities and bursting with significance to our whole hemisphere."

  • September, 7th, Review in The Scofield: "Mauro Javier Cardenas, the Ecuadorian author of The Revolutionaries Try Again, has written a book that challenges the reader in ways few American novelists seem interested in doing today. He is the product of what can only be viewed as the natural evolution of the Latin American fiction boom, an expansion of the house that, say, Bolaño and Vargas Llosa helped build. If these authors proved decades ago to be masters of the novel form, it seems only appropriate that someone like Cardenas should come along to show, like a Conrad or a Nabokov, they can do it better in English, too."

  • September 6th, Essay in The Millions: "How to write about mostly blanks?"

  • September 6th, Interviews: At Electric Literature, Brazos Bookstore, Kirkus Reviews, and Fusion.

  • September 1st, Fall & September Lit picks: Lithub's Great Bookseller Fall Preview, Vol. 1 Brooklyn Sept Preview, Chicago Review of Books Top 10 for September, Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, and KQED Lit Pick.  

  • September Issue of San Francisco Magazine, One to Watch: "Beneath their often hilarious antics lies a layer of sadness and helplessness—the kind that results from hitting your head against the impenetrable wall of corruption. This mellifluously worded epic leaves the reader buzzing with its rhythms and cadences, reeling with a thrilling high—and wishing for more."

  • August 25th, Article in Poets & Writers as part of their Writers Recommend series.  

  • August 12th, Review in Harper's Magazine: "Then came The Revolutionaries Try Again, a high-octane, high modernist debut novel from the gifted, fleet Mauro Javier Cardenas."

  • August 1st, Literary Prize, SF Foundation: Mauro Javier Cardenas wins a 2016 Joseph Henry Jackson literary award for a manuscript in progress.  

  • July 11nd, 2016, Interview with Publishers Weekly: "What’s wonderful about fiction is that Pierre Menard and your granny can cumbia in the same sentence inside a novel sequenced on birdsongs."

  • June 22nd, 2016: Kirkus Review: "Writing sometimes in sentences that stretch for pages, sometimes in fragmented stream-of-consciousness, even briefly in Spanish, Cardenas displays an ambitious intelligence that eschews easy answers. His inclusive sympathy is balanced by an unsparing eye. By the end, Antonio questions his own motives for returning, asking himself "how are we to be humans in a world of destitution and injustice."

  • Summer, 2016, Tony Tulathimutte recommends The Revolutionaries Try Again in Art Forum: "I don’t go outside much, so Mauro Javier Cardenas's The Revolutionaries Try Again is my kind of summer reading. Set in a hot country—Ecuador in the eighties and nineties—it begins as an antic comedy about three childhood friends who reunite to overthrow the corrupt (and nonfictional) President Abdalà “El Loco” Bucaram. But the prose darkens and brightens into avant garde genius; in later chapters the punctuation itself stages a revolt / as we drive so deep / into the characters’ minds / that you will find / yourself even starting / to think in / new units of thought. It’s not out until September, so get a nice tan and workout in before hefting this book, which is short but dense as planet Earth."

  • May 23th, 2016, Starred Review, Publishers Weekly: "This inventive novel shares some of the revolutionary spirit of Ecuador’s ill-served people, who, as one character puts it, 'want to trounce the same old narratives.'"

  • May, 2016, Blurb, Carmen Boullosa, author of Texas: "Incisive, forceful, and written in an English that’s fiercely subversive, The Revolutionaries Try Again evokes a pair of great Latin American novels: Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives and Cortázar’s Hopscotch. But this book goes even further: it’s the novel we’ve been waiting for, witness to the most recent wave of immigration from Latin America to the US, told through the eyes of a privileged class that forces their conationals out of their countries. I read it thinking it had been written for me. It’s been ten years since a book this alive, this incandescent, has fallen into my hands.”

  • May 12th, 2016, Publishers Weekly, BEA 2016: Paul Yamasaki, head buyer at City Lights Books, selects The Revolutionaries Try Again as one of his favorite upcoming novels.  

  • May, 2016, Blurb, Karan Majahan, author of The Association of Small Bombs: "In The Revolutionaries Try Again, Mauro Javier Cardenas has taken the edifice of arch modernism and suffused it with tender details of a boyhood in Ecuador. The long, unraveling sentences reveal an extraordinarily musical ear. This is a debut that will last."

  • May, 2016, Blurb, Justin Taylor, author of Flings. : "Irreverent, shape-shifting, and wise, The Revolutionaries Try Again is as relentless in its indictment of political depredation as it is heartfelt in its devotion to the friendships and wild idealisms of youth. This forceful debut novel is a blast of fresh air and I had a blast reading it."

  • April, 2016, Blurb, Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books: "The Revolutionaries Try Again is a daring novel that pits youthful idealism against persistent and inescapable corruption. Mauro Javier Cardenas is an exciting new voice in Latin American literature and his debut crackles with an exuberance that readers of Valeria Luiselli, Julio Cortazar, and Horacio Castellanos Moya will love."

  • March 15th, 2016, Shelf Awareness: Upcoming books that if you don't read, I will personally fight you: "Mauro Javier Cardenas's The Revolutionaries Try Again, an unhinged novel about three childhood friends contemplating a presidential run against the crooked Ecuadorian president Abdalá "El Loco" Bucaram. This is double-black-diamond high modernism, so do some warm-up stretches before you crack this baby."