Hurricane Season is a stunning, unsparing depiction of small-town claustrophobia in a Mexican village, crippled by violent mythologies feeding misogyny and femicide. Fernanda Melchor writes with the savage force that the themes of her work demand, portraying the demons of contemporary Mexico – prejudice, superstition, corruption and sexual terrorism – while still allowing her prose to shine with elating lyricism.
Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020
The Witch is dead. After a group of children playing near the irrigation canals discover her decomposing corpse, the village of La Matosa is rife with rumours about how and why this murder occurred. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, Fernanda Melchor paints a moving portrait of lives governed by poverty and violence, machismo and misogyny, superstition and prejudice.
Written with an infernal lyricism that is as affecting as it is enthralling, Hurricane Season, Melchor's first novel to appear in English, is a formidable portrait of Mexico and its demons, brilliantly translated by Sophie Hughes.
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Number of pages: 232
Dimensions: 197 x 125 mm
'Brutal, relentless, beautiful, fugal, Hurricane Season explores the violent mythologies of one Mexican village and reveals how they touch the global circuitry of capitalist greed. This is an inquiry into the sexual terrorism and terror of broken men. This is a work of both mystery and critique. Most recent fiction seems anaemic by comparison.'
- Ben Lerner, author of The Topeka School
'Fernanda Melchor has a powerful voice, and by powerful I mean unsparing, devastating, the voice of someone who writes with rage, and has the skill to pull it off.'
- Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream
'This is the Mexico of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian or Roberto Bolano's 2666, where the extremes of evil create a pummeling, hyper-realistic effect. But the "elemental cry" of Ms. Melchor's writing voice, a composite of anger and anguish, is entirely her own.'
- Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
'A brutal portrait of small-town claustrophobia, in which machismo is a prison and corruption isn't just institutional but domestic, with families broken by incest and violence. Melchor's long, snaking sentences make the book almost literally unputdownable, shifting our grasp of key events by continually creeping up on them from new angles. A formidable debut.'
- Anthony Cummins, Observer
'Hurricane Season is a Gulf Coast noir from four characters' perspectives, each circling a murder more closely than the last. Melchor has an exceptional gift for ventriloquism, as does her translator, Sophie Hughes, who skillfully meets the challenge posed by a novel so rich in idiosyncratic voices. Melchor evokes the stories of Flannery O'Connor, or, more recently, Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings. Impressive.'
- Julian Lucas, The New York Times
'Stomach-churning, molar-grinding, nightmare-inducing, and extraordinarily clear-eyed account of the ordinary horrors men inflict upon women. Melchor refuses to look away, refuses to indulge in fantasy or levity-even in the moments when the novel is laugh-out-loud funny. And lest the far-off reader think the horror is contained to the lives of others, Melchor repeatedly threads the reminders of the long reach of these crimes-and their causes-throughout the narrative.'
- Lucas Iberico Lozada, The Nation
'I found it impossible to look away. Hurricane Season unfurls with the pressure and propulsion of an unforeseen natural disaster, the full force of Melchor's arresting voice captured in Sophie Hughes' masterful translation.'
- Lucy Scholes, Financial Times
'A sprawling, heaving thing, and I loved it because I have no idea how Fernanda Melchor was able to write it. The prose has the quality of a storm.'
- Avni Doshi, Guardian Best Books of 2020
'Hurricane Season is, first and foremost, a horror story-its horror coming from rather than contrasting with the lyricism of Melchor's prose [...] Melchor's kaleidoscope keeps circling around the untold source of the horrors, and we are increasingly keen to unveil it. This is an effect of the structure of the novel as much as of its writing. Sophie Hughes's translation renders the expansive, punishing spirit of Mexican slang so impressively that one wonders whether the harsher sounds of English in fact suit the novel better.'
- Emmanuel Ordonez Angulo, New York Review of Books
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“A true work of art in words”
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