Fernanda Melchor's latest novel 'Páradais' published in English
In her books, the Mexican writer speaks out about violence and gender inequality in Mexico
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Inside a luxury housing complex, two misfit teenagers sneak around and get drunk. Franco Andrade, lonely, overweight, and addicted to porn, obsessively fantasizes about seducing his neighbor — an attractive married woman and mother — while Polo dreams about quitting his grueling job as a gardener within the gated community and fleeing his overbearing mother and their narco-controlled village. Each facing the impossibility of getting what they think he deserves, Franco and Polo hatch a mindless and macabre scheme.
Written in a chilling torrent of prose by one of our most thrilling new writers, Páradais, Fernanda Melchor’s latest novel, which was just been translated into English, explores the explosive fragility of Mexican society — with its racist, classist, hyper-violent tendencies — and how the myths, desires, and hardships of teenagers can tear life apart at the seams.
Considerend one of the most importance voices of Latin American literature today, Mexican writer Melchor explores the ease with which desire can turn into obsession and, moreover, violence, while narrating the alliance between the polar opposites of contemporary Mexican society.
Melchor's fourth novel, and the second to be translated into English, revisits some of the themes that stood out in his U.S. literary debut Hurricane Season — extreme poverty, crime and the capacity for violence and brutality inherent among Mexican teenagers.
“Am I afraid that people will think that Trump is right reading my novels? Sometimes,” Melchor told The New York Times in a recent interview following the publication of her new novel. Melchor was referring to the former U.S. president's negative comments about Mexicans.
“But I can’t change the way I write just because I’m afraid of what people are going to say,” she said.
According to Sophie Hughes, translator of her two novels into English, Melchor's books "are about murder and rape and pornography addicts and the systemic abuse of women by men. And at the same time, they are about abandoned young children, emotional deprivation and lives deprived of love," he told The Times. "He writes about horror with humanity, with grace."
Melchor, born in Verazcruz, Mexico in 1982, is the author of the novels Falsa liebre (2013) and Temporada de huracanes (Hurricane Season, 2017, translated into more than 15 languages), as well as the book of chronicles Aquí no es Miami (2013). She is a journalist graduated from the Universidad Veracruzana and holds a Master's degree in Aesthetics and Art from the Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. In 2019, she won the International Prize for Literature awarded by the House of World Cultures in Berlin, and the Anna Seghers Prize. In 2020, she was a finalist for the prestigious International Booker Prize for the English translation of Temporada de huracanes. Páradais is her most recent novel.
A month ago, Netflix announced that it will adapt the novel Hurricane Season. The film will be adapted by Cannes Palme d'Or winning Mexican filmmaker Elisa Miller, who will also direct the movie.