“Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan” by Rosy Hugener

Posted January 25, 2012 by Kay Walten in Mexican Art,Mexican Culture

Xtabentum cover

Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan” is a  story of two young women set in the years following the Mexican Revolution in Merida, Yucatan, one of the wealthiest cities in the world at the time.  Amanda Diaz is from the “divine caste,” a small group of families of European descent who dominate the politics and economy of the region.  Amanda’s lifelong friend, Carmen, is from the opposite end of the social spectrum, a Mayan Indian who is the daughter of one of the Diaz family servants.  Against the true historical background of rebellion and assassination in the unstable country, the whipping of Carmen by a Diaz neighbor exposes the sheltered existence of the two women and drives them apart.  The story follows Amanda through her horror at the social injustice of the two-class Mexico to the sacrifices she makes in the name of friendship.  Parts of the story take place in modern times, where the discovery of an old birth certificate sets Amanda’s granddaughter in search of  a  secret about her father’s birth.  Her search, told in the first person, is blended with a third-person account of the lives of Amanda and her contemporaries in the 1920s.

What readers are saying:

The story is both fascinating and absorbing. While I learned about actual historical figures and events, the story captivated me right from the start…The character development in this novel is outstanding. I immediately grew to love many of the characters. – Sheryl L. Shiner

The true merit of the book is the raw and vivid picture it paints of a unique life and a special culture…it makes the reader look introspectively and wonder what in their own lives they should be searching for, and for that alone, it is worth a read. – Andres

…if you’d like to learn something different about the Mexican culture, this book includes short Mayan mythical stories which combine with the novel in a very amusing way. This is a great read! – Rosana Martinez

I really love the story, the characters, and all the great details that are mentioned of Yucatan, Mexico. This is a book I would recommend to everyone. – Ivone Fernandez Ancona


  1. Monica Necky, January 30, 2012:

    Great book! Must read if you are going on vacation to Yucatan.

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