by Maia Gil’Adí
I assigned Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex (2005) as an incentive to begin work on the fourth chapter on my dissertation. In all honesty, I was using my students and our in-class discussions as a sounding board for my own ideas about this complicated novel. Unlike other readings this semester (besides Beloved, perhaps), Atomik Aztex is particularly difficult. It is formally and thematically challenging, implementing postmodern stylistics in conjunction with surrealism, Gonzo “journalism,” and the satirical, which can be baffling for readers. Foster’s mixing of the “low-brow” and “high-art,” popular and consumer culture, Anglo-American and indigenous cultures also present a challenge for readers. My own interest in this book emerges from Foster’s “performance” of Chicanx in this novel and the possibilities that emerge from reading intra-ethnically and across racial and national boundaries.