Humiliation: Stories

Paulina Flores (Author) Megan McDowell (Translator)
Available

Description

"Humiliation is a brilliant book that captures the volatility of misunderstandings, the moment when failures matter less than the need to share them." --Alejandro Zambra, author of Multiple Choice

The nine mesmerizing stories in Humiliation, translated from the Spanish by Man Booker International Prize finalist Megan McDowell, present us with a Chile we seldom see in fiction: port cities marked by poverty and brimming with plans of rebellion; apartment buildings populated by dominant mothers and voyeuristic neighbors; library steps that lead students to literature, but also into encounters with other arts--those of seduction, self-delusion, sabotage.

In these pages, a father walks through the scorching heat of Santiago's streets with his two daughters in tow. Jobless and ashamed, he takes them into a stranger's house, a place that will become the site of the greatest humiliation of his life. In an impoverished fishing town, four teenage boys try to allay their boredom during an endless summer by translating lyrics from the Smiths into Spanish using a stolen dictionary. Their dreams of fame and glory twist into a plan to steal musical instruments from a church, an obsession that prevents one of them from anticipating a devastating ending. Meanwhile a young woman goes home with a charismatic man after finding his daughter wandering lost in a public place. She soon discovers, like so many characters in this book, that fortuitous encounters can be deceptions in disguise.

Themes of pride, shame, and disgrace--small and large, personal and public--tie the stories in this collection together. Humiliation becomes revelation as we watch Paulina Flores's characters move from an age of innocence into a world of conflicting sensations.

Product Details

Price
$16.95  $15.59
Publisher
Catapult
Publish Date
November 05, 2019
Pages
272
Dimensions
5.4 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.65 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781948226240
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

PAULINA FLORES was born in Chile in 1988. Humiliation is her first book. In its Spanish-language editions, it won the Roberto Bolaño Prize, the Circle of Art Critics Prize, the Municipal Literature Prize, and was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by the newspaper El País.

MEGAN McDOWELL has translated many contemporary authors from Latin America and Spain, including Alejandro Zambra, Samanta Schweblin, Mariana Enríquez, Gonzalo Torné, Lina Meruane, Diego Zuñiga, and Carlos Fonseca. Her translations have been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, The Paris Review, Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, Words Without Borders, and Vice, among others. Her translation of Alejandro Zambra's novel Ways of Going Home won the 2013 English PEN Award for writing in translation, and her English version of Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin was short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.

Reviews

Praise for Humiliation

Finalist for the 2019 Big Other Book Award for Translation
Paperback Paris, 1 of 12 New Books You'll Want to Bring Outside This Season

"Flores's strong debut collection provides an intimate look at characters in a Chile brimming with desperation and misfortune . . . Readers see characters struggling with failures, job loss, divorce, missing parents, and poverty . . . Flores's intense stories are tied together with dark, palpable emotion, portraying characters trapped in circumstances beyond their control. This is a challenging, impressive collection." --Publishers Weekly

"Flores has won several prizes in her native Chile, and it's not hard to see why: Her prose (deftly translated by McDowell) is fluid and assured . . . This collection marks the arrival of an interesting young writer." --Kirkus Reviews

"If reading can feel like a hand reaching out and taking yours (as Alan Bennett memorably put it), it's still rare to encounter a debut with a grip this sure. Young Chilean writer Paulina Flores leads you with such cool confidence through her nine stories that I can't wait to follow wherever she goes next . . . It feels particularly timely with the current protests led by young people in Chile over inequality and living standards . . . There's a masterly steadiness to her writing: no flash or dash, but neat psychological insight and understated, sometimes drily funny storytelling. There are also some killer twists." --Holly Williams, The Guardian

"Chilean writer Flores' debut short story collection has garnered critical acclaim in its Spanish-language edition, winning several awards, including the Roberto Bolaño Prize. Now McDowell presents an agile translation . . . With conflicts personal and communal in a land in the grip of tyranny, Flores dramatizes difficult situations vividly specific and resonantly universal." --Booklist

"Until the protests, nobody outside of Chile was talking about how one percent of its inhabitants take home one third of the income generated in the entire country. The fearless, clear-eyed stories of Paulina Flores offer a portal into what living in that extreme inequality means." --Idra Novey, Electric Literature, Recommended Reading

"Finding Paulina Flores's debut collection Humiliation in my mailbox was like coming across a little bit of magic in the middle of a very typical day. The stories remain with you long after shutting the cover of her book. Her characters are fascinating--captivating you as you turn the pages, reminding you of what power there is in indulging in excellent writing." -Haley Sherif, The Rumpus

"Humiliation, Paulina Flores's debut collection of short stories, beautifully translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, is a timely work that provides pertinent backstory to the protests and official repression that have erupted in Chile this fall . . . Humiliation invites readers to remember in the face of oblivion: to remember what has been forgotten and to remember who has been forgotten." --Julie Ann Ward, World Literature Today

"From the backstreets of Santiago through fishing villages to urban apartment blocks, the nine stories in this collection of fiction bring modern Chile to life. This is an exceptional debut--beautifully translated by Megan McDowell--by one of Latin America's most exciting young writers." --Monocle

"McDowell's acclaimed skill is on display here; her translation is smart and readable, with a few telltale hallmarks of the original Spanish. There's a refreshing, neat symmetry in that McDowell and Flores are women contemporaries . . . Chile is home to a vanguard of young women writers who, like Zambra, have thrown off the heavy mantle of magical realism--long synonymous with Latin American literature--in favor of spare prose that depicts life as it is. Flores's stories hinge, for example, on a chance encounter at the library and quiet domestic drama; the magic lies in her ability to freight direct descriptions with emotion, and to interrogate what it means to be Chilean by carefully observing the quotidian without judgment. As her debut effort, Humiliation promises an approach and sensibility that will go far in building a more inclusive Chilean canon. The book's release couldn't come at a better time." --Allison Braden, Asymptote

"Winner of multiple awards, including the Roberto Bolaño Prize, Humiliation is an intensely political debut . . . The thing that these nine stories share most prominently is longing. For change. For approval. For affection. For direction, to, apparently, almost anywhere but the Chile of Post-Pinochet's rule: a country of parched soil, high poverty and low employment. Prospects are weak. Hope is weaker . . . Fall into the abyss we do not, though. In Humiliation, every family is a populace, their self-built homes are little kingdoms sinking into the mire of a land that has yet to forge a new identity and establish a direction for its inhabitants. Every man is a king, but, like Pinochet, they must eventually give way to the voters of democracy. Paulina Flores is writing for those voters: the lost sons and heartbroken daughters. The bored kids in tired neighbourhoods, trying to hustle, trying to escape, trying to be everywhere, and everyone else, and make their homes, their country, a place they can actually live." --Harry Gallon, Minor Literature[s]

"In this impressive debut, nimbly translated by Megan McDowell, Flores explores the indignities of poverty, widespread in her native Chile . . . Like Alice Munro, Flores sparks empathy with a careful attention to details. Humanity, she makes clear, is bound together by a shared vulnerability." --Mia Levitin, The Guardian

"It is fitting that the Spanish-language edition of Flores's collection won the Roberto Bolaño Prize. She and Bolaño both render the everyday (often abject) with steady and serviceable sentences while occasionally employing a phrase that crackles and fizzes with the poetic . . . Humiliation, translated by Megan McDowell, marks Flores's arrival and signals her vast potential for portraying the struggles between classes and genders, the intense experience of losing innocence, and the sacrifices and horrendous mistakes people make when they are struggling to parent in a harsh world." --Ross Nervig, Southwest Review

"Paulina Flores deftly captures our startling humanity; there's awe and dread in these pages--but there's joy, too, fleeting and overwhelming. The worlds she crafts in Humiliation are our worlds, in all their terror and amazement." --Bryan Washington, author of Lot

"Expertly translated into English by Megan McDowell, Humiliation heralds the arrival of a powerful new voice in international literature. Flores has her finger on the pulse of modernity--a writer to watch." --Scott Neuffer, trampset

"Humiliation is an impressive debut, with McDowell providing her usual excellent work, allowing the reader to experience the tone of dignity and suppressed hurt that pervades most of the pieces. It can make for sobering reading at times, yet these aren't characters that demand pity." --Tony's Reading List

"Written with the possessive, disquieting calm of contemporaries like Catherine Lacey and Richard Chiem, Humiliation is a dazzling debut from a woman within full command of her craft." --Paris Close, Paperback Paris

"Humiliation is a brilliant book that captures the volatility of misunderstandings, the moment when failures matter less than the need to share them." --Alejandro Zambra, author of Multiple Choice

"An incredible storyteller. Paulina Flores has a knack for laying bare those fragile, often unarticulated, often hard-to-pin-down emotions children hold for their parents. I'm not surprised Humiliation has already been rewarded with so many prizes." --Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, author of Kintu

"The magic of Paulina Flores's writing lies in placing us in that critical moment when everything is about to change, yet everything seems still. Humiliation is a finely tuned literary high-wire act if ever there was one." --Carlos Fonseca, author of Colonel Lágrimas

"A debut that marks the arrival of a powerful figure in Chilean letters . . . We must celebrate it wholeheartedly." --Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, Cultura-s, La Vanguardia

"Every once in a while one encounters a new voice and thinks: they will last . . . Twelve months from now, Humiliation will still be one of the best books of the year." --Javier Rodríguez Marcos, El País

"Fiction that is as alive as Chekov's and as vibrant as Munro's." --Carlos Pardo, Babelia

"Nine perfect stories that form an extraordinary collection." --Aloma Rodríguez, Letras Libres

"While Paulina Flores's approach is radically political, her stories explore a world of nuance and complexity, brought to life through the author's relentless quest for the humanity in each of her characters." --Lorena G. Maldonado, El Español

"The great surprise of contemporary Chilean letters descends onto Spain, endorsed by Alejandro Zambra, with a brilliant and daring collection of stories." --Inés Martín Rodrigo, ABC

"With elegance, strength, and the eye of a hunter, Paulina Flores writes as though she's lived twice as long as her age." --Karina Sainz Borgo, Vozpópuli

"Some of the characters call to mind Lorrie Moore's early books." --Diario Ahora

"Flores's style is minimalist and sparse, deprived of artificiality, aiming straight at the heart." --Libros y Literatura

"Paulina Flores's vision is unique and, like only good literature can, it will confront, disturb, and dazzle you." --Mujer Hoy

"Stories through which life flows with astonishing ease." --Ramón Rozas, Librújula

"A work that is as original as it is strong, as it is delicate." --Gema Begega, TenMag