Tompkins seeks to redress the lack of critical and comprehensive studies of postmodern Spanish American women novelists who produce lucid, experimental, deconstructive, and self-reflexive texts. She traces a tradition of three decades of experimental women writers, grouping for the first time established authors such as Julieta Campos, Luisa Valenzuela, and Alicia Steimberg with an intermediate group including Albalucia Angel, Ana Teresa Torres, and Brianda Domecq, and young voices including Diamela Eltit - hailed as the paradigmatic postmodern novelist, Carmen Boullosa, and Alicia Borinsky. Positing a hybrid literary postmodernism resulting from cultural cross-fertilization across the Atlantic and along the Americas, Tompkins historicizes rhetorical devices associated with postmodernism by showing continuities and similarities with modernist experimentalism, the nouveau roman, "nueva narrativa," the Boom, the neobaroque, and the post-Boom, even back to surrealism and Dada. But at its core, this tradition questions the status quo from a woman-centered perspective.
And although the texts make explicit political references to institutional repression, they refrain from offering utopic, salvational metanarratives, offering instead highly fragmented and contested imagined communities of dissensus. Tompkins sheds light on a largely ignored contemporary tradition of female experimentalism as she maps out a hybrid, feminist, engaged postmodernism, which calls into question current dominant ideologies such as capitalism, patriarchy, and liberal humanism.