Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Interior Circuit

A Mexico City Chronicle

by Francisco Goldman

“So sneakily brilliant it’s hard to put into words. Part travelogue, part memoir, part reportage on Mexican politics and the scourge of narco-terrorism, it is also, in the finest sense, a book that creates its own form. . . . Genius.” —David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 376
  • Publication Date July 14, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2377-0
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

The Interior Circuit is Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico. This is the chronicle of an awakening, both personal and political, “interior” and “exterior,” to the meaning and responsibilities of home. Mexico’s narco war rages on and, with the restoration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the PRI) to power in the summer’s 2012 elections, the DF’s special apartness seems threatened. In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world’s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities.


“Remarkable—sentence by sentence, Goldman brings to life a city that is bewitching, terrifying, beautiful. Goldman brings something new to the [chronicle] form.” —John Freeman, Boston Globe

“So sneakily brilliant it’s hard to put into words. Part travelogue, part memoir, part reportage on Mexican politics and the scourge of narco-terrorism, it is also, in the finest sense, a book that creates its own form. . . . the genius of The Interior Circuit, [is that it] link[s] Goldman’s grief for Aura to the grief of all these families and indeed of Mexico. It’s an audacious move, but it works because of the offhand beauty of the writing, which shifts from individual to collective with the fluid grace of circumstance.” —David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

“Both an homage to the (albeit flawed) city [Goldman] calls home and a meditation on the many residents—himself included—who have experienced loss there . . . Goldman is a keen observer and an apt guide to Mexican politics and society.” —Adam Goodman, Washington Post

“An indispensable contribution to the growing body of artistic representations of Mexico’s most recent years of darkness . . . there is an urgent, raw beauty in Frank’s prose, as if we are plugged into an only slightly edited version of his journals, and it is full of ‘cortos’: journal gives way to reportage, reportage to lament, lament to polemic, polemic to erudite rumination . . . Frank throws himself into the Heavens case with tremendous journalistic energy, badgering officials, cultivating confidential sources, scouring what looks like just about every press account, and, most importantly and at some risk, by crossing the social border and stepping into the old barrio to interview the relatives of the disappeared . . . Here Frank joins a growing crew of writers (among them Marcela Turati, Oscar Martínez, Cristina Rivera Garza, John Gibler, Magali Tercero, Sergio González Rodríguez, Diego Osorno, Daniel Hernández, Lydia Cacho, Anabel Hernández) who undertake dogged investigative journalism—the kind there is precious little support for in the digital age, and which in the Latin American context can get you killed—and dedicate themselves to revealing the victims, itself an eminently political (and also spiritual) task that is the heart of Javier Sicilia’s movement…Interior Circuit confronts the corto, the short-circuit, as in too-brief-is-our-time, by recognizing the absurdity of both ‘freakish’ and politicized death, and of the necessity of mourning both intimately and in community—of reconnecting the broken circuit with the language of pain itself.” —Rubén Martínez, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Goldman draws an imagined geography that depicts very well the harsh realities which those of us who live in the DF face. We must be grateful that a foreigner has given back to us the feeling that, in spite of everything, it’s worth it to live so intensely the interior circuits of [Mexico] city.” —Roger Bartre, Reforma

“Though much can be said about the elegance of Goldman’s writing and the piercing quality of his reportage, it’s really the emotion-driven moments—his identification with those seeking to improve the city’s living conditions and with those affected by the Tepito victims’ deaths—that take The Interior Circuit to a commendable height that even crónica doesn’t set out to reach . . . Altogether moving and eye-opening, The Interior Circuit is as much a love letter to Mexico City as it is to his late wife.” —Rigoberto González, San Francisco Chronicle

“Francisco Goldman, whom I never read before this year, has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary authors. This great work of literary nonfiction begins after the tragic death of its author’s wife and moves forward as a variegated chronicle of Mexico City.” —Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire

“Goldman transcends the personal, transmuting the role of memoirist into that of city chronicler. . . . Goldman’s surrealistic portrait of DF gives due weight to the city’s layered complexities . . . In searching for some essence in the city Goldman finds an inner territory beyond personal grief.” —The Daily Beast

“Suddenly, thanks to the keen eye and sympathetic imagination of the journalist and novelist Francisco Goldman, I care about the place that locals call the D.F….Goldman is by turns impassioned and detached, loving his adopted city while by no means blind to its many faults . . . Goldman made me care. That’s what the best writers do.” —Chris Tucker, Dallas Morning News

“Incisive observation, flashing wit, intense curiosity . . . vivid prose . . . The vibrant life of Mexico City makes for a compelling story in its own right, and not merely as the backdrop for Goldman’s personal quest, as absorbing as that continues to be. In either of its incarnations, this is a story about love, whether for a person or for a city, in all the complicated, rewarding and painful messiness that emotion entails.” —Harvey Freedenberg, Book Reporter.com

“Much of the pleasure of The Interior Circuit builds on Goldman’s knowledge and love of Mexico City and his unabashed personalization of its streets and student dives. . . . If The Interior Circuit is partly Goldman’s chronicle of overcoming personal sorrow, it is even more his take on the politics, complexity, romance and vibrancy of one of the great megacities of the world.” —Shelf Awareness

“Exquisite . . . perceptive, funny, and philosophical . . . Throughout this remarkable book, Goldman is highly attuned to the pulse and rhythm of one of the world’s most captivating cities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This book is an exquisite, deeply funny, truly gorgeous panorama of Mexico City by a writer of enormous sensitivities who notices everything. This book will charm and urgently engage you like no other, because it is so totally original. It includes the dirty parts.” —Rachel Kushner


One of New York magazine’s “7 Books You Need to read this July”
A Vanity Fair Hot Type pick
An Amazon “Best of July” selection
A Los Angeles Times David L. Ulin’s Best Books of 2014
A Guardian 10 Best City Books of 2014
A Biographile’s Best Overlooked Memoirs 2014
New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2014
Business Insider Australia (Librarians’ Pics for Best Books of 2014)
San Francisco Chronicle (Writers Share Best Books of 2014 – Maria Venegas Pic)
Vue Weekly Best Books of 2014


Time in Mexico City, at least to me, seems somehow slowed down, so that days feel twice as long there as they do in New York. A mysterious energy seems to silently thrum from the ground, from restless volcanic earth, but one that is also produced, I like to think, by the pavement-pounding footsteps of the millions upon millions who labor every day in the city, by their collective breathing and all that mental scheming, life here for most being a steadfastly confronted and often brutal daily challenge, mined with potential treachery but also, in the best cases, opportunity, one sometimes hiding inside the other like in a shell game; also by love, desire, and not so secret sexual secretiveness, the air seems to silently jangle with all that, it’s like you breathe it in and feel suddenly enamored; so much energy that in the late afternoons I don’t even need coffee. The writer Juan Villoro says that all chilangos carry a seismograph inside—I, like everyone else who lives here, have experienced earthquake tremors that have turned my knees to jelly—and maybe it is partly that too that helps me to focus here, senses alert, both inwardly and outwardly. That seismograph senses more than just literal earthquakes.