Review: The Transmigration of Bodies | Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

9781925498240.jpgMexican author Yuri Herrera finally gets the English translation his work deserves with this volume from Text Publishing, which collects two stylish novellas quite unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory: The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World.

The Transmigration of Bodies is a mashup of classic Chandler noir and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Set in a plague-ridden Mexico,  where disease-carrying mosquitoes have desolated the streets, an enigmatic character referred to as The Redeemer is caught mediating a conflict between two grieving families. It’s fast and brutal, and Herrera has fun playing with the tropes of the genre, while making his tale incredibly distinct. It’s the kind of novella you’ll race through, then go back to savour, slowly, to appreciate its nuances.

Signs Preceding the End of the World is just as stylised, but more fantastical in nature, opening with the tale’s heroine, Markina, narrowly escaping being swallowed by a massive sinkhole, then embarking on a perilous journey from “Little Town” to the “Big Chilango” to retrieve her brother. This is Herrera’s innovative spin on the experience of the “illegal immigrant” and is as thoughtful as it is page-turning.

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.

ISBN: 9781925498240
Format: Paperback (231mm x 154mm x 23mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: The Text Publishing Company
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Publish Date: 28-Nov-2016
Country of Publication: Australia

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