Yuri Herrera – The Transmigration of Bodies (4 stars)

Grisly, grim and energetic Mexican crime story

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Yuri Herrera – The Transmigration of Bodies

Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera’s new title in English comes as the second in a loose trilogy of novellas. Its release comes on the heels of its precursor, Signs Preceding the End of the World, which won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award For Fiction. Like Signs, it’s translated into unique yet colloquially familiar prose by Lisa Dillman, and Herrera’s literary power is, once again, in his restraint.

Taking place in an unnamed Mexican city, the story follows The Redeemer, a hardboiled figure sought to broker peace between two feuding crime families. It responds to Romeo and Juliet’s themes of blood feud and familial loss, contextualised in Mexico’s current violent milieu. But like all good crime thrillers its dramatic aspects follow all the way down to the minutiae, from a body swap to The Redeemer’s failed attempts to find a spare moment to buy condoms. Herrera brings a frenetic energy and fresh idiomatic feel to the internal wars of the faraway nouveau riche. All the while its 110 pages make room for the grisly, the grim and the downright absurd.

Out Thu 7 July.

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