Translated by Sophie Hughes
Set in and around the city of Veracruz in Mexico, This Is Not Miami delivers twelve devastating stories that spiral from real events. These cronicás—a genre unique to Latin American writing, blending reportage and fiction—probe the motivations of murderers and misfits, compelling us to understand or even empathise with them. Melchor is like a ventriloquist, using a range of distinctive voices to evoke the smells, sounds and words of this fascinating world that includes mistreated women, damaged families, refugees, prisoners and even a beauty queen.
As in her hugely acclaimed novels Hurricane Season and Paradais, Fernanda Melchor’s masterful stories show how the violent and shocking events that make the headlines are only the surface ruptures of a society on the brink of chaos.
‘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 evokes the stories of Flannery O’Connor, or Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. Impressive.’
‘[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.’
‘Based on a real-life murder in rural Mexico, Fernanda’s story 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.’
‘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.’
‘Melchor’s vulgar yet elegant prose crackles with explosive energy…Paradais is a blistering (and blisteringly intelligent) interrogation of privilege and class disparity.’
‘The stories are acts of rebelliousness and bravery…[Fernanda Melchor] continues to establish herself internationally as one of the strongest new voices in Mexican literature.’
‘Melchor toggles playfully between true and might be true in a way that is quite provocative…A captivating read.’
‘Melchor’s journalistic voice threads around and through those of her informants, expanding and contracting to accommodate the lives at the centre of these narratives.’
‘Melchor, a new literary voice from Mexico, writes of the lawlessness and brutality she sees in her home of Veracruz.’
‘This is a book that’s as gorgeous as it is dark, and it proves that Melchor is one of the finest writers working today. Absolutely stunning.’