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Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season

Fernanda Melchor

  • awardWinner, International Literature Award, Germany, 2019
  • awardShortlisted, International Booker Prize, 2020
  • awardShortlisted, Dublin Literary Award, Ireland, 2021
  • awardLonglisted, Translated Literature, National Book Awards, United States, 2020
  • awardLonglisted, Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, United States, 2021
  • Translated by Sophie Hughes

    Inspired by a real event of the murder of a woman in rural Mexico, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with superstitions and violence—violence that poisons everything around.

    The Witch is dead. After a group of children playing in the murky waters of the irrigation canals discover her decomposing corpse, the village is rife with rumours and suspicions about the murder of this feared and respected woman, who had carried out the community’s ritual shamanic customs. In dazzling, visceral language, Melchor extracts humanity from otherwise irredeemably brutal characters, and spins a terrifying and heartrending tale of dark suspense in a Mexican village that seems damned.



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    Fernanda Melchor
    About the Author

    Fernanda Melchor was born in 1982 in Veracruz, Mexico. She is widely recognised as one of Mexico’s most exciting new voices. She won the Anna-Seghers-Preis and the International Literature Award for Hurricane Season, which was also longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and was a New York Times...

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    About the Translator

    Sophie Hughes has translated works by Laia Jufresa and Enrique Vila-Matas, among others. Her translation of Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. She has also translated Melchor’s recent novel Paradais and her collection of non-fiction pieces, This Is Not Miami. In 2021 she was awarded the Queen...

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    Text publication date:
    3 March 2020
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    Praise for Fernanda Melchor
    andHurricane Season

    ‘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.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘Fernanda Melchor not only writes with the furious power that is required by the issues at hand, but on each page she shows that she has an eye and ear for it, as well as a sharpness rarely seen in our literature.’

    ‘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 anemic by comparison.’

    ‘A dazzling novel and the English-language debut of one of Mexico’s most exciting new voices.’

    ‘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.’

    Hurricane Season is a hell of a force to be reckoned with.’

    ‘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.’

    Hurricane Season is an unrelenting torrent of violence, barbarity, recrimination, sex, greed, trauma, corruption, neglect, fear, lust, deceit, baseness, and the insidiousness of evil. The young Mexican author writes with unflinching ferocity and her propulsive prose is simultaneously scintillating and suffocating…Inspired by a story Melchor encountered in a local newspaper, Hurricane Season offers a testimonial of our increasingly depraved age of disconnection and disposability. A remarkable, indelible work of art.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘Melchor’s English-language debut is a furious vortex of voices that swirl around a murder in a provincial Mexican town. Forceful, frenzied, violent, and uncompromising, Melchor’s depiction of a town ogling its own destruction is a powder keg that ignites on the first page and sustains its intense, explosive heat until its final sentence.’

    ‘In thrilling, furious sentences, Fernanda Melchor tells the story of a femicide in rural Mexico. She examines the people who congregated around the victim—a witch—until her death: the young men in search of cocaine and cheap sex, and the even younger women who came to her looking for illegal abortions. In tracing the events that led up to the gruesome crime, Melchor reveals the psychological and socioeconomic mechanisms that underpin the sugarcane-surrounded town of La Matosa. The titular hurricanes not only hint at the prevailing conditions in the town, but, thanks to the power of the author’s language, even seem to descend upon us.’

    ‘In Hurricane Season, Fernanda Melchor exorcises the violence endemic to Mexico, particularly when it comes to women. A stunning novel…Only a writer who does not falter in the face of horror is a capable of evoking this world without resorting to the sordid. Melchor has a wonderful way with words; hers is a vision to be reckoned with.’

    ‘A singular narrative voice: Reading as a sensory experience.’

    ‘A nocturnal journey into the abyss of the human soul, written in the most radical style of her generation.’

    ‘This is fiction with the brakes off. Not an Oprah book club pick, one suspects, but not a novel to be missed—if you can steel yourself.‘

    ‘A brutal portrait of small-town claustrophobia, in which machismo is a prison and corruption isn’t just institutional but domestic, with families broken by incest and violence. Melchor’s long, snaking sentences make the book almost literally unputdownable, shifting our grasp of key events by continually creeping up on them from new angles. A formidable debut.’

    ‘Melchor’s English-language debut is a furious vortex of voices that swirl around a murder in a provincial Mexican town. Forceful, frenzied, violent, and uncompromising, Melchor’s depiction of a town ogling its own destruction is a powder keg that ignites on the first page and sustains its intense, explosive heat until its final sentence.’

    ‘Mexican writer Melchor’s first book published in English is remarkable for the sheer force of its language. Melchor has deep reserves of talent and nerve. Engrossingly feverish.’

    ‘Melchor’s writing is intoxicating, taking the reader on a brutal journey, barely giving you time to breathe.’

    ‘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.’

    ‘Makes Once Were Warriors look a bit like Jane Austen.’

    ‘Swirling with violence, dark suspense and intense fury.’

    ‘A bilious, profane, blood-spattered tempest of rage against what one character calls ‘the full, brutal force of male vice.’ The chapters, written in obscenity-laden free indirect speech, are not monologues so much as diatribes. Sophie Hughes’s translation carries their furious momentum into English….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.’

    ‘The crime is not an act but an entire atmosphere, which Melchor captures in language as though distilling venom…Melchor creates a narrative that not only decries an atrocity but embodies the beauty and vitality it perverts.’

    ‘A linguistic blitzkrieg… There is a lot of talk about authenticity in fiction, and Melchor achieves it through her words. Hurricane Season is a dark celebration of language.’

    ‘This is a novel that sinks like lead to the bottom of the soul and remains there, its images full of color, its characters alive and raging against their fate…Its terrible beauty carves a wound, painful enough to startle us out of our complacency.’

    ‘Mexican novelist Fernanda Melchor makes her unforgettable English-language debut with Hurricane Season, the snarled story of a witch murdered in the village of La Matosa…Melchor makes awfully clear the ways women bear the most unforgiving burdens of exploitation. Yet Hurricane Season weathers it all into an exquisite work of art.’

    ‘A formidable and mighty novel, a masterpiece of Mexican literature.‘

    ‘It does drag you towards it because it’s like the words are flooding and, in this sense, it’s like a hurricane has just come through you and you have to keep going and you’re just taken with it.’

    ‘Melchor plays with language deftly; she’s salty and funny and depraved. Her words brim and tremble with hate, and yet it will turn into something comical a line later. Her genius (and that of the translator, Sophie Hughes) lies in the minute, blink-and-you-miss-them details.’

    ‘The book is at once repellent and transfixing. Sophie Hughes’s impressive translation meets a daunting challenge with energy and inventiveness; the rhythm of her prose matches the fervor of Melchor’s original.‘

    ‘Despite the book’s terrifying vision and depressing scenarios, it is difficult to turn away. Melchor’s unflinching, no-holds-barred depictions of warped humanity have the same power as her eponymous hurricane, hitting us again and again with ‘bitter, hellacious force.’ Brilliantly translated by Sophie Hughes, this incendiary novel continues to burn and leave its mark long after the last page.’

    ‘Explosive, unrelenting and unforgettable.’

    ‘This searing novel, the first in English by the Mexican Melchor, dazzles with fury and beauty.’

    ‘A savage, unstoppable chronicle of misogyny and murder in a small Mexican village.’

    ‘A sprawling, heaving thing, and I loved it because I have no idea how Fernanda Melchor was able to write it. The prose has the quality of a storm. Each chapter follows a different character, drawing links between disparate events, expanding the chain of violence.’

    ‘It’s overwhelming, nasty, violent, tender and completely mesmerising…This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s the best novel I’ve read in years.’

    Hurricane Season is, first and foremost, a horror story—its horror coming from rather than contrasting with the lyricism of Melchor’s prose. Instead of supplying a welcome breeze in the heat, the local river is where the children find the Witch’s body. Sophie Hughes’s translation renders the expansive, punishing spirit of Mexican slang impressively.’

    ‘Based on a real-life murder in rural Mexico, Fernanda paints a powerful, visceral story of a violent world where superstition and suspicion collide. The language – translated into English by Sophie Hughes – is astonishing and hypnotic. Tread carefully; even though this book is narrated by deeply human characters, its portrayal of cycles of abuse, poverty and despair is as unrelenting as it is beautifully crafted.’

    ‘[Hurricane Season and Paradais] establish Melchor…as the latest of Faulkner’s Latin American inheritors, and among the most formidable…Melchor’s prose is muscular but always attentive to the world of the senses and carried forward by an impeccable ear…She isn’t holding a Stendhalian mirror up to Mexican society; she’s dissecting its body and its psyche at the same time, unafraid of what she might find.’


    ‘Assaultive, rageful, demonic, a journey into the heart of hate’

    ‘The book that haunts me…It’s probably the most brutal book I’ve ever read but it’s also one of the most compelling.’

    ‘Melchor’s writing is stunning, poetic, and makes its own rules. Her storytelling is so compelling, it hurtles forward. I don’t want to stop reading to try to figure out how she does it, but I have to admire—and feel ‘good-jealousy’ about how she writes and structures this masterpiece. This is a novel I would read again in a heartbeat.’

    Other editions ofHurricane Season
    • Hurricane Season
      ISBN: 9781925774771
      3 March 2020
      Buy ebook