WHEN LAWRENCE F. LIHOSIT first wrote Jesus Was Arrested in Mexico City & Missed the Wedding, the term creative non-fiction had not yet come into common usage, so he sub-titled it “A Travel Narrative” but this book is much more than a travelogue. Lihosit uses novelistic techniques and metaphorical juxtaposing of events to create a story of social, political and class relations of Mexico City.
The story begins with preparations for a Mexican in-law’s wedding to a Canadian in Mexico City. This is the bridegroom’s first time in Mexico and he is a fish out of water. Lihosit had gone through something similar years before with his own marriage, except the Canadian speaks only English and French while Larry had trained in Spanish during his Peace Corps years. This time around, Lihosit is able to observe more and understands more of what the family and the bridegroom are going through.
Alongside this narrative, however, there is the story of Fernando and his family, people Lihosit had been involved with politically in an earlier time during a battle to prevent to destruction of a working class area. Things had gotten pretty hot and Lihosit had been forced to flee the country. Returning for the first time, he is constantly on the look-out for Mexican agents who might still want to deal with him.
When he contacts Fernando and finds out that a mutual friend (Jesus) has been arrested, Lihosit is drawn back into the world of political and class conflict despite the demands of his wife and mother-in-law that he steer clear of such troublesome and dangerous people so as not spoil the wedding.
Using novelistic techniques like flash backs and parallel structuring, Lihosit weaves an intriguing tale that shows what he learned about the structure of Mexican society and the political forces at work there. This combination of creative devices and political insights raises Jesus Was Arrested in Mexico City & Missed the Wedding to a whole different level and makes it far more worth reading than any simple travel book would be.
Rich Yurman is a retired English professor (Skyline College, San Bruno, California) and a far from retired poet. He is the co-author of two plays produced by The Red Balloon Theater Company and the author of several poetry books. His most recent works include Giraffe (March Street Press) and Fascination Dolls (Snark Publications). More than fifty of his poems have appeared in various literary magazines.