The Scorpions Tail

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-1-931896-17-7
Publication Date
May 2005
Page Count
260 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

The Scorpions Tail

Sylvia Torti

Sylvia Torti's The Scorpion's Tail won the 2005 Miguel Mármol Prize, awarded annually by Curbstone Press for the best debut work in fiction by a Latinx writer. This suspense-filled novel explores struggles of indigenous people in southern Mexico during the Zapatista rebellion. The Scorpion's Tail encompasses both the point of view of Amy, a young US biologist inadvertently caught up in the rebellion, and that of Chan Nah K'in, an insurgent woman guerrilla. It explores the dilemma of the Hach Winik people caught between their traditional life and the modern world, where they must take aggressive political and military action to preserve their very existence. The Scorpion's Tail is also an initiation story—Amy is plunged into the social realities of Mexico, an experience that shatters her neat, isolated world of science and changes her life forever.
About the Author

Sylvia Torti is the daughter of an Argentine father and American mother. She was born and raised in Ohio and lives and writes in Salt Lake City, conducting biology research in her spare time. With a PhD in biology, Torti's research has taken her to Africa, South America and Chiapas on the eve of the Zapatista rebellion. At present, she is the Dean of the Honors College at the University of Utah. 


"The Scorpion's Tail is a novel that is simultaneously compelling, complicated and insightful. Sylvia Torti deftly unites disparate elements and voices in this tale of the Zapatista rebellion of January 1, 1994, in Chiapas, Mexico—one of the most momentous events of the beginnings of the twenty-first century. Such personages as Subcomandante Marcos appear in the book, but the real characters are the nameless rebels, villagers, visitors and soldiers whose lives collided that fateful day, impacting them forever as this rebellion reconfigured and changed the face of the post-Cold War world." —Luis J. Rodríguez

"Thus, it is fitting that Torti has crafted such a gut-wrenching reminder that the Zapatista legacy of responsiveness and activism also lives on. That radical spirit is palpable within the pages of this illuminating novel." —Rigoberto González

"Even-handed and wise and always compelling, The Scorpion's Tale makes a serious contribution to the literature of political experience." —Bob Shacochis, author of Swimming in the Volcano

"Torti has written a compelling story of this sometimes-overlooked period in Mexico's history—a story enriched by its honest and disparate points of view."