A feral parable on the violence of racism, misandry, and class from a preeminent, new voice of contemporary Mexican literature. Melchor’s style in Paradais is writhing and slippery, capturing not only a portrait of desperation but the ugliness of the toxic thread that runs through the underside of our collective psyche.
Author of the acclaimed novel Hurricane Season, Fernanda Melchor leads us into a different kind of hell: paradise
Inside a luxury housing complex, two misfit teenagers sneak around and get drunk. Franco Andrade, lonely, overweight, and addicted to porn, obsessively fantasizes about seducing his neighbor—an attractive married woman and mother—while Polo dreams about quitting his grueling job as a gardener within the gated community and fleeing his overbearing mother and their narco-controlled village. Each facing the impossibility of getting what he thinks he deserves, Franco and Polo hatch a mindless and macabre scheme.
Written in a chilling torrent of prose by one of our most thrilling new writers, Paradais explores the explosive fragility of Mexican society—with its racist, classist, hyperviolent tendencies—and how the myths, desires, and hardships of teenagers can tear life apart at the seams.
About the Author
Born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1982, Fernanda Melchor is “one of Mexico’s most exciting new voices” (The Guardian). Her novel Hurricane Season was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book.
Sophie Hughes has also translated José Revueltas and Enrique Vila-Matas for New Directions. She was shortlisted for the 2019 and 2020 International Booker Prize.
Fernanda Melchor explores violence and inequity in this brutal novel. She does it with dazzling technical prowess, a perfect pitch for orality, and a neurosurgeon’s precision for cruelty. Paradise is a short inexorable descent into Hell. — Mariana Enríquez
Melchor evokes the stories of Flannery O’Connor, or, more recently, Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings. Impressive
— Julian Lucas - The New York Times
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. — Samanta Schweblin
Like Hurricane Season, this novel is told in long sentences and paragraphs, lending it a fever-dream quality that is, at its most intense, almost sickening… [H]orrifying but never gratuitous; Melchor uses shock to lay bare issues of classism, misogyny, and the ravages of child abuse. Her prose, ably translated by Hughes, is dizzying but effective; it’s as if she’s holding the reader’s head and daring them to look away from the social problems she brings to light.
— Kirkus, (Starred Review)
Coming off her last novel, Hurricane Season, Melchor has proven to be one of Mexico’s most tantalizing writers, and Paradais continues her examination into the metaphysical assault embedded in patriarchy and classism. Her appetite for cutting descriptions of sex and actual violence make this short, subversive novel terrifying and hard to put down.