Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Dramatised reading of Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes and performed by Cathy Belton.
Comments from the Judges
Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season is a ferocious novel that challenges and astonishes in equal measure. It portrays the most painful margins of a Mexican underworld of poverty and corruption, a universe dominated by a merciless violence that is deeply embedded in the community and in the actions and thoughts of its inhabitants, almost obscuring ant trace of empathy and humanity. The novel’s hyperrealist language displays striking power, a direct, brutal and incisive energy that transports you headlong into the centre of a hurricane where there seems to be little hope or redemption. Sophie Hughes’ English translation succeeds in transmitting the expressive force and richness of Melchor’s Spanish. It is a novel that does not give you a break and that drags you in its verbal current, so torrential and intense, towards the darkest entrails of humankind, where the shadows live. An extraordinary book.
About the Novel
The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals—propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.
About the Author
Fernanda Melchor, born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1982,is widely recognized as one of the most exciting new voices of Mexican literature. Her novel Hurricane Season and collection This Is Not Miami are both forthcoming from New Directions.
Sophie Hughes is a literary translator from Spanish, known for her translations of writers such as Laia Jufresa, Rodrigo Hasbún, Fernanda Melchor and José Revueltas. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s The Remainder.
Horrifyingly violent without being exploitative, this novel depicts incredible cruelty while remaining deeply empathetic to all of its characters, even those who commit terrible acts. Winnipeg Public Library, Canada
This novel reflects on how poverty, superstition and prejudice combine to normalise abuse and violence. A fictional Mexican village is the scenario to exemplify the chain reaction where the abused can in turn find their way to abuse someone else. The depiction, however, could sadly apply to many other places elsewhere. The author creates vivid images to remind the reader that many people still live far from the peaceful comfort which, in contemporary world, is gradually becoming the privilege of the few. Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas, Mexico
Set in a small border town in Mexico that could be a town anywhere in the world, where the people are so cut off from the world around them that the inhabitants’ only reality is based on rumor and superstition that feed upon themselves. They are so insulated from the outside world that they do not have the imagination to even conjure hope of a another life. An afterlife is the only “way out of this hole.” Melchor’s writing is in the great tradition of Rabelais, Smollett, Swift, Dante, Faulkner, Garcia Marquez, and the line drawings of war by Francisco Goya. What she writes about is raw and it is true. Los Angeles Public Library, USA
For library members in Ireland, this novel is available as an eBook on BorrowBox.