Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes

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From the publisher:

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.

‘A brutal portrait of small-town claustrophobia, in which machismo is a prison and corruption isn’t just institutional but domestic ... Melchor’s long, snaking sentences make the book almost literally unputdownable.’ 
— Anthony Cummins, Observer

‘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

‘Melchor creates a narrative that not only decries an atrocity but embodies the beauty and vitality it perverts.’
— The New York Times

‘Fernanda Melchor’s deep drill into violence, femicide, homophobia and misogyny, translated with considerable verve and force by Sophie Hughes and longlisted for this year’s International Booker, is based on the real-life killing of a “witch” outside Veracruz. It’s a mystery novel, but not one presented in any manner to which we’re accustomed; a horror novel, but only metaphorically; and a political novel with deep penetration of a remarkably foul milieu. ... You close the book every so often, feeling that you have learned too much. Though there are glitters of humour and empathy, Hurricane Season is an uncompromisingly savage piece of work: difficult to escape from, built to shock. Yet it’s also elating. I was left buoyed up by Melchor’s anger, elated because she had shown me things I needed to be faced with.’
— M John Harrison, Guardian

‘Melchor pulls it off brilliantly — I never felt lost, or confused by her style, probably because the voices sound like a regular person telling someone a story instead of an author trying to impress readers with literary filigrees.’
— NPR

‘The novel does not, nor should it, tell us how to act. Instead its terrible beauty carves a wound, painful enough to startle us out of our complacency.’
— Los Angeles Review of Books

‘This is the Mexico of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian or Roberto Bolaño’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.’
— Wall Street Journal 

‘It’s risky, too, to traffic in the kind of brutality Melchor does [...] but she wields it all expertly, and with the brio of a drunken dancer.’
— AV Club

‘Melchor is astute ... with sensitive, restrained plot revelations and refined transtions from character to character that make the narrative seem to move by natural compulsion rather than authorial design.’
— Daniel Baksi, Literary Review

‘Almost instantly hailed as a modern classic of Mexican literature upon its publication, Hurricane Season can finally unleash its torrent upon English-language readers. Quite the apt title.’
— Irish Times

What happens to people who fall into the gaps and get lost in the gears, and end up wedged together in tiny spaces outside the view of the machine’s operators? Hurricane Season tries to see, tries to recover them.
— Splice

A brilliant, beautiful book’
— Book Riot

‘an unforgettable novel’
— Remezcla

‘Melchor’s tale is full of rage and yet is clear sighted and perceptive, emotional but not wrought. Melchor is an inventive writer and it might seem contradictory but her long chapters and long sentences are beautifully constructed, at times lyrical, translated from the original Spanish by Sophie Hughes.’
 Crime Time

‘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

Hurricane Season is a tremendously vital piece of work. Searing and urgent and cut through with pain, this is storytelling as reportage; a loud memorial to the unheard victims of a society in crisis. Fernanda Melchor and Sophie Hughes have achieved something remarkable here.’
— Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13

‘Propelled by a violent lyricism and stunning immediacy, Hurricane Season maps out a landscape in which social corrosion acquires a mythical shape. This masterful portrayal of contemporary Mexico, so vertiginous and bewitching it pulls you into its spiritual abyss from the opening page, is brilliantly rendered into English by Sophie Hughes. Fernanda Melchor is a remarkable talent.’
— Chloe Aridjis, author of Sea Monsters

‘A bravura performance, teeming with life and fury. Melchor takes a single, brutal act and explodes it, giving voice to the legacies of tragedy and violence within, and daring us to look away.’
— Sam Byers, author of Perfidious Albion 

‘Repellent yet compulsive, Hurricane Season is a hell of a force to be reckoned with.’
— Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond

‘Not only does Fernanda Melchor write with the violent force that the themes of her investigation demand, but on every page she displays an ear and perspicacity rarely seen in our literature.’
— Yuri Herrera, author of The Transmigration of Bodies

‘Written with pain and enormous skill, in a rhythm at once tearing and hypnotic, Hurricane Season is an account of the wreckage of a forsaken Mexico governed by nightmarish jungle law. An important, brave novel by a writer of extraordinary talent, magnificently translated by Sophie Hughes.’
— Alia Trabucco Zerán, author of The Remainder

‘Melchor experiments with the Latin American NeoBaroque and with European formalism – in the novel, each chapter is sustained in a long paragraph in which sentences only finish when they really and truly can’t carry another clause, articulating a relentless reality in a language openly faithful to that spoken by Mexicans today. Fernanda Melchor isn’t interested in revealing what happened, but rather in providing a way to record what is so hard to articulate.’
— Álvaro Enrigue, author of Sudden Death

‘Melchor wields a sentence like a saber. She never flinches in the bold, precise strokes of Hurricane Season. In prose as precise and breathtaking as it is unsettling, Melchor has crafted an unprecedented novel about femicide in Mexico and how poverty and extreme power imbalances lead to violence everywhere.’
— Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

Hurricane Season is menacing, highly original and disturbing – Melchor is unafraid to confront the unspeakable.’
— Nicole Flattery, author of Show Them a Good Time

‘Fernanda Melchor is part of a wave of real writing, a multi-tongue, variform, generationless, decadeless, ageless wave, that American contemporary literature must ignore if it is to hold on to its infantile worldview.’
— Jesse Ball, author of Census