Elena Poniatowska is recognized today as one of Mexico's greatest writers. Lilus Kikus, published in 1954, was her first book. However, it was labeled a children's book because it had a young girl as protagonist, it included illustrations, and the author was an unknown woman. Lilus Kikus has not received the critical attention or a translation into English it deserved, until now. Accompanying Lilus Kikus in this first American edition are four of Poniatowska's short stories with female protagonists, only one of which has been previously published in English.
Poniatowska is admired today as a feminist, but in 1954, when Lilus Kikus appeared, feminism didn't have broad appeal. Twenty-first-century readers will be fascinated by the way Poniatowska uses her child protagonist to point out the flaws in adult society. Each of the drawings by the great surrealist Leonora Carrington that accompany the chapters in Lilus Kikus expresses a subjective, interiorized vision of the child character's contemplations on life.
“A tantalizingly complex feminist author, whose importance and originality have yet to be appreciated in this country.”--Cynthia Steele, author of Politics, Gender, and the Mexican Novel, 1968–1988