The Transmigration Of Bodies
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Two astonishing novellas, by ‘Mexico’s greatest novelist’, in one volume. Hilarious and horrifying, Yuri Herrera’s The Transmigration of Bodies is a gritty, feverish novella, written in dazzling prose that is both bawdy and poetic. A plague has brought death to the city. Two feuding crime families with blood on their hands need our hard-boiled hero, The Redeemer, to broker peace. Both his instincts and the vacant streets warn him to stay indoors, but The Redeemer ventures out into the city’s underbelly to arrange for the exchange of the bodies they hold hostage. Lust and crime and a lack of condoms all feature in this brilliant novella about living in a city filled with the dead, and where no one can distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. A response to the violence of contemporary Mexico, with echoes of Romeo and Juliet, Roberto Bolaño and Raymond Chandler, The Transmigration of Bodies is a noir tragedy and a tribute to those bodies—loved, sanctified and defiled—that violent crime has touched. Signs Preceding the End of the World is a masterpiece, haunting and arresting, spare and poetic, a condensed epic about immigration. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages—one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld. Yuri Herrera was born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970. He studied politics in Mexico, creative writing in El Paso and took his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane, in New Orleans. ‘Mexico’s Yuri Herrera is a rare thing: a writer to get truly excited about...It is writing that is simultaneously concise and epic, dynamically plotted and intelligent, aware of literary heritage and stunningly original...This is stunning writing that demands and deserves attention.’ Saturday Paper ‘[The Transmigration of Bodies] captures the feel of the post-epidemic world with consummate ease: the paranoia and desperation are almost palpable.’ BookMooch ‘Herrera knows what he is talking about and says it as it is, with power and without restraint.’ Otago Daily Times ‘There’s a weight to Herrera’s concise prose, more to extrapolate from his simple sentences than a first glance might imply. These two novellas are stunningly original pieces of work from a writer to watch.’ Simon McDonald ‘A splendid and magnificent read...The language is an absolute tribute to the translator.’ Radio New Zealand ‘Herrera’s novella becomes a micro-epic, at once clear and ambiguous, transcultural, localised but applicable to countless sagas of migration across the globe. In scarcely more than one hundred pages, it encapsulates a story that is much bigger than itself.’ Australian Book Review
‘Yuri Herrera has been described as Mexico’s greatest living novelist...Believe the hype.’ Readings In the court of the King, everyone knows their place. But as the Artist wins hearts and egos with his ballads, uncomfortable truths emerge that shake the Kingdom to its core. Part surreal fable and part crime romance, Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera questions the price of keeping your integrity in a world ruled by patronage and power. Described as ‘Mexico’s greatest novelist’, Yuri Herrera has followed up The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World with an extraordinary story about passion and violence, about the vital role of the Artist in our society, and about the strangeness of our world. Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied Politics in Mexico, Creative Writing in El Paso and took his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists, as did his second novel, The Transmigration of Bodies, in 2016. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane in New Orleans. ‘Herrera creates a radically new language and condenses into a few pages what other authors need hundreds to convey...a surprising literary jewel’ Nation ‘Mexico’s Yuri Herrera is a rare thing: a writer to get truly excited about...It is writing that is simultaneously concise and epic, dynamically plotted and intelligent, aware of literary heritage and stunningly original...This is writing that demands and deserves attention.’ Saturday Paper on The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World ‘Yuri Herrera is Mexico’s greatest novelist. His spare, poetic narratives and incomparable prose read like epics compacted into a single perfect punch—they ring your bell, your being, your soul.’ Francisco Goldman on The Transmigration of Bodies ‘Yuri Herrera must be a thousand years old. He must have travelled to hell, and heaven, and back again. He must have once been a girl, an animal, a rock, a boy, and a woman. Nothing else explains the vastness of his understanding.’ Valeria Luiselli ‘The Artist’s mission statement could speak for the whole of Mr Herrera’s daring and memorable project: “Let them be scared, let the decent take offence. Put them to shame. Why else be an artist?”’ Wall Street Journal ‘At one point in Kingdom Cons The Artist boasts, “If you’re saying what happened, why bother with a song? Corridor aren’t only true; they’re also beautiful and just.” He may come to realise how his corridor can be used to other ends, but Herrera’s novels stay beautiful and just.’ New Republic ‘Kingdom Cons rises above a mere tale of lost innocence or a drug-land eulogy, specifically because it is the language and not the narrative that powers its subject. Herrera’s writing reinvents its own territory with simultaneous streetwise mischief and canonical splendour. At times a Renaissance quill, at other times a tattier’s needle, his syntax misbehaves masterfully, and Lisa Dillman proves herself once again exquisitely loyal to his lyrical disobedience with this translation, its prose so alive that it recalls Roland Barthes’s description of “language lined with flesh”.’ New Statesman ‘His [Herrera’s] books are bracingly taut, his skill with concision impressive.’ National Post ‘Kingdom Cons is captivating in that Yuri Herrera has seemingly wandered off into the deserts of the genre and has come out on another shore of a different planet...crime is mentioned with a side-glance, the role of power is beheld at close attention, and the language itself is short, poetic, elliptical.’ KQPD ‘With his signature palpable lucidity of the uncanny he [Herrera] blends crime romance with elements of surreal fable.’ Better Read Than Dead ‘I would really recommend reading this author, he’s fantastic’ Radio NZ ‘Kingdom Cons is another great novel from a writer at the top of his game, and is a must read for any fans of Latin American or world literature.’ AU Review
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages - one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.
Is time travel real? Doctor Petronella sage is determined to find out. So is Justin Bremer, the young scholar in the far future tasked with reviewing Dr. Sage’s timeline. Repeatedly electrocuting herself in order to fling her consciousness through time and space, Petra discovers that death is no barrier to science.
Nicholas Slopen has been dead for months. So when a man claiming to be Nicholas turns up to visit an old girlfriend, deception seems the only possible motive. Yet nothing can make him change his story. From the secure unit of a notorious psychiatric hospital, he begins to tell his tale: an account of attempted forgery that draws the reader towards an extraordinary truth - a metaphysical conspiracy that lies on the other side of madness and death. Strange Bodies takes the reader on a dizzying speculative journey that poses questions about identity, authenticity, and what it means to be truly human.
“Startling and astringently poetic.” —The New York Times A literary discovery: an extraordinary account, in the tradition of The House on Mango Street and Angela’s Ashes, of a Colombian woman’s harrowing childhood This astonishing memoir was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nearly a decade after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, and translated and introduced by acclaimed writer Daniel Alarcón, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing. Emma Reyes was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a Catholic convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, sewed garments and decorative cloths for the nuns—and lived in fear of the Devil. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually establishing a career as an artist and befriending the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as European artists and intellectuals. The portrait of her childhood that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.