Author(s): Yuri Herrera
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.
'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, author of Faces in the Crowd --------- '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. Signs Preceding the End of the World delivers a darkly mythological vision of the U.S. as experienced by the "not us" that is harrowing and fierce. The profoundly dignified, mind-boggling Makina, our guide and translator, is the heroine who redeems us all: she is the Truth.' Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name --------- 'Herrera never forgets the turbulent and moving humanity of his protagonist: adroit, angry, ineluctable, Makina is destined to become one of the essential characters of Mexico's new literature...Herrera creates a radically new language [ - ] and condenses into a few pages what other authors need hundreds to convey.' Jorge Volpi, author of In Search of Klingsor --------- 'Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World is a masterpiece, a haunting and moving allegory about violence and the culture built to support and celebrate that violence. Of the writers of my generation, the one I most admire is Yuri Herrera.' Daniel Alarcon, author of At Night We Walk in Circles --------- 'Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera confirms his status as a storyteller skilled at creating intense storylines and using original language. It is as adept at depicting wretched conditions as it is of elevating the humble and everyday to symbolic dimensions. And that symbolism, to be sure, has something of the Kafkaesque.' Arturo Garcia Ramos, ABC --------- 'It's fair to say that Yuri Herrera follows in the footsteps of compatriot Juan Rulfo, perhaps the master par excellence of creating limbos, spectral spaces in which the characters - real Schrodinger's cats - reside halfway between the living and the dead.' Javier Moreno, Quimera --------- 'The book amazes with the precise and persuasive beauty of its words. New words are created or transformed in order to tell what cannot be told.' Maria Jose Obiol, El Pais --------- 'A dazzling little thing, containing so much more than the width of its spine should allow. I am in awe-filled love with its heroine: Makina is a vibrantly real presence in a shadowy world of constant threat; her voice perfectly rendered; her unflappable poise tested, but never broken.' Gayle Lazda, London Review Bookshop, London --------- 'If you start highlighting what stuns you about Yuri Herrera's debut novel in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, every page will be mottled with fluorescent lines. Herrera writes in prose that feels like you are standing on both sides of the uncanny valley while something beautiful happens below and above you, creating a delectable unease, cut through with the simple joy of precise and surprising images. Herrera will draw the obvious comparisons to Roberto Bolano, but Signs Preceding the End of World should also find a home next to Jesse Ball and Italo Calvino.' Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Boston, MA, and author of An Exaggerated Murder --------- 'Herrera gives us what all great literature should - poetic empathy for dire situations in a life more complex and dynamic than we imagined. And Other Stories gives us what all publishers should - access to this world. I always want more.' Lance Edmonds, Posman Books (Chelsea Market branch), New York, NY --------- 'Several things occurred while I read Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera. I didn't stop talking about it to other book people. When I finished it, I immediately flipped back to the beginning. And then, while waiting for the train, a bird pooped on me. I could go into the beautiful sentences, the structure, or the imagery. But really a bird pooped on me. Right on the shoulder, in the most obvious place, and I didn't even notice until I put the book down.' Jess Marquardt, Greenlight, Brooklyn, NY --------- 'Yuri Herrera's Signs Proceeding the End of the World is a lyric border crossing with touches of Kafka.' Alexander Dwinell, Unnameable Books, Brooklyn, NY --------- 'This book pulled me out of my little life into one altogether unfamiliar and absorbing - with the help of its bulletproof heroine, it explores what happens to people and languages when they cross borders, and recreates these new linguistic worlds in the translation without affectation. I am glad it made it over the Rio Grande onto my shelf.' Georgia Newman, Foyles (Charing Cross Road branch), London --------- 'What begins as an odyssey is steered into profound allegory depicting the burdens we are willing to shoulder for family and the prospect of a life we never asked for.' Mark J Walker, Waterstones (High Wycombe branch), High Wycombe ---------
Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied in Mexico and Texas and took his PhD at Berkeley. Signs Preceding the End of the World (Senales que precederan al fin del mundo) was shortlisted for the Romulo Gallegos Prize and is being published in several languages. After publishing Signs Preceding the End of the World, And Other Stories will publish his two other novels in English, starting with The Transmigration of Bodies in 2016. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane, in New Orleans. ------- Lisa Dillman is based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she translates Spanish, Catalan and Latin American writers and teaches at Emory University. Her recent translations include The Frost on His Shoulders by Lorenzo Mediano, Op Oloop by Juan Filloy (longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award), Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman and Rain Over Madrid by Andres Barba. She is obsessed with words, running, cooking and her dog, Maya.