The People of Paper

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The People of Paper by Salvador Plascentia
First edition cover
First edition cover
Author Salvador Plascencia
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher McSweeney's Books, Mariner Books
Publication date
June 2005 (McSweeney's), November 13, 2006 (Mariner)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 256
ISBN ISBN 1-932416-21-8 (McSweeney's, hardback), ISBN 978-0-15-603211-7 (Mariner, paperback)
OCLC 60654785

The People of Paper is the debut novel of Salvador Plascencia. It was first published as a part of the Rectangulars line of McSweeney's Books. In form the novel owes a debt to a wide variety of experimental fiction from the magical realism of Latin American writers, to the Beat writings of William S. Burroughs, to the American postmodernists of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in its turn towards metafiction. The book is notable for its unique layout, featuring columns of text running in different directions across the page, blacked out sections, and a name that has literally been cut out of the novel. The central events depicted in the novel are variously described as a war against Saturn, against sadness, and against omniscient narration. The leader of this war is Federico de la Fe, a Mexican man who is abandoned by his wife Merced due to his chronic bed-wetting. As a result of his remorse, he falls into a depression which he cures through "burn-collecting," or burning parts of his body. After leaving Mexico bound for the United States, Federico de la Fe and his daughter Little Merced settle in the small flower-growing town of El Monte. There, Federico de la Fe enlists the help of the town and a local gang of flower-pickers, who call themselves the El Monte Flores, in order to combat the influence of Saturn.

The novel was republished in paperback by Mariner Books in 2006.