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About the Author
Sophie Hughes has translated novels by several contemporary Latin American and Spanish authors, including Laia Jufresa and Rodrigo Hasbún. Her translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán's The Remainder was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.
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"
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
Like Hurricane Season, this novel is told in long sentences and paragraphs, lending it a fever-dream quality that is, at its most intense, almost sickening... [H]orrifying but never gratuitous; Melchor uses shock to lay bare issues of classism, misogyny, and the ravages of child abuse. Her prose, ably translated by Hughes, is dizzying but effective; it's as if she's holding the reader's head and daring them to look away from the social problems she brings to light.-- "Kirkus, (Starred Review)"
Coming off her last novel, Hurricane Season, Melchor has proven to be one of Mexico's most tantalizing writers, and Paradais continues her examination into the metaphysical assault embedded in patriarchy and classism. Her appetite for cutting descriptions of sex and actual violence make this short, subversive novel terrifying and hard to put down.--Jessica Jacolbe "Vulture"
With a nimble command of the novel's technical resources and an uncanny grasp of the irrational forces at work in society, the books navigate a reality riven by violence, race, class, and sex...In Melchor's world, there's no resisting the violence, much less hating it. All a novelist can do, she seems to suggest, is take a long, unsparing look at the hell that we've made.--Juan Gabriel Vásquez "The New Yorker"
While her writing turns an unsparing eye on the dysfunction and violence of her native Veracruz, Melchor makes clear that it is neither her job nor her intention to explain her homeland. Her novels are less portraits of Mexico than they are literary MRIs, probing unseen corners of the human heart and finding that many of its darker shades are universal.--Benjamin P. Russell "The New York Times"
Melchor is an incredibly gifted writer.--Justin Torres "The New York Times Book Review"
Through the alchemy of translation, Sophie Hughes has reinterpreted the local slang of Melchor's Mexican Spanish. The result is a linguistic marvel: a hybrid English that jumps between British and American dialects; a bastard tongue situated somewhere between LA pulp and something out of James Kelman. It's a risky choice with an immense payoff.--Henry Hietala "Cleveland Review of Books"
Without moralizing, the Mexican writer Fernanda Melchor's novels look unflinchingly at cruelty and poverty. Her work is a model for how to think about the ambiguity of human relations.--Holly Connelly "Jacobin Magazine"
Paradais is as engrossing as it is discomfiting. Sophie Hughes' translation gives Melchor's candid, lurid run-on sentences a galloping pace; nothing is softened or made more graceful, but the prose is insistent and propulsive while the story accrues guns and rapes and murder.--Mark Athitakis "On the Seawall"
Set in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz....Melchor's latest novel, Paradais, is more tightly focused--employing not a chorus of narrators but a duet.--Lucas Iberico Lozada "The Nation"
[Melchor's] honest and fearless resolve to capture the rawness of contemporary Mexican society is nothing but inspiring.-- "Frieze"
Melchor offers a study of the pathologies of both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat--and does so in prose laced with both high diction and the vernacular.--Nicolas Medina Mora "The Nation"
Melchor makes evident how violence and misogyny touch all corners of society, even the communities thought to be protected by physical gates, security guards, and money. Of course, it happens even in Paradise.-- "Harvard Review Online"
Paradais stars a luxury housing complex's beleaguered gardener, who's driven by one of its residents to follow his worst impulses. Melchor's prose is singular, with its fair share of page-long sentences that travel from the deepest psychic corners of her characters to the broadest panoramas of Mexican life.--Leland Cheuk "NPR"