Dead Boys

Nonfiction Novella (memoir), winner of 2015 PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize.

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What can we learn from the haunting tragedy of a young boy gunned down by a vengeful loan shark, or from a camouflaged corpse washed up on a beach, or from nine bodies hanging from a bridge? Is it any different than what we can learn from the heartbreaking death of the author’s own brother in a childhood horse-riding accident? Written with brutal honesty and extraordinary respect, Dead Boys announces the debut of a powerful nonfiction writer possessed of striking empathy and strength. In these linked essays, Adriana E. Ramirez examines the universal tragedy of a mother losing a son and gives voice to the grief and experience that is often obscured in media reports of the drugs wars.

By confronting the memory of the dead boys the author has encountered in her life as she’s moved back and forth between Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, Ramírez attempts to make sense of the senseless. Through the author’s unflinching and poetic examination of drug violence, Dead Boys attests to the fragility of life, even while exploring the harsh mechanisms of narco trafficking.