This hybrid collection of short cr nicas, journalism, and personal essays on systemic violence in contemporary Mexico and along the US-Mexico border draws together literary theory and historical analysis to outline how neoliberalism, corruption, and drug trafficking--culminating in the misnamed "war on drugs"--has shaped Mexico. Working from and against this political context, Cristina Rivera Garza posits that collective grief is an act of resistance against state violence and that writing is a powerful mode of seeking social justice and embodying resilience. As she states, "As we write, as we work with language--the humblest and most powerful force available to us--we activate the potential of words, phrases, sentences. Writing as we grieve, grieving as we write: a practice able to create refuge from the open. Writing with others. Grieving like someone who takes refuge from the open. Grieving, which is always a radically different mode of writing.