This is Not Miami
Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes
Set in and around the city of Veracruz in Mexico, This Is Not Miami delivers a series of devastating stories – spiralling from real events – that bleed together reportage and the author’s rich and rigorous imagination. These cronicas – a genre unique to Latin American writing that blends reportage, narrative non-fiction and novelistic forms – probe deeply into the motivations of murderers and misfits, into their desires and circumstances, forcing us to understand them – and even empathize – despite our wish to disdain them as monsters. As in her hugely acclaimed novels Hurricane Season and Paradais, and once again brilliantly translated by Sophie Hughes, Fernanda Melchor’s masterful stories show how the violent and shocking aberrations that make the headlines are only the surface ruptures of a society on the brink of chaos.
'Melchor evokes the stories of Flannery O'Connor, or, more recently, Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings. Impressive.' Julian Lucas, 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, author of Fever Dream 'Time spent with her writing leaves no doubt: the unholy noise she creates is the work of someone who knows exactly which notes to hit.' - Chris Power, Guardian '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. ... In Melchor's world, there's no resisting the violence, much less hating it. All a novelist can do, she seems to suggest, is take a long, unsparing look at the hell that we've made.' - Juan Gabriel Vazquez, New Yorker 'In addition to bravely presenting dark truths, Melchor writes from a good heart...Melchor makes her point (not without sorrow and gruesome humor), then gets out of the way, so that her subjects can speak.' - William T. Vollmann, New York Times 'Melchor isn't inventing anything in broad strokes...She's not playing with facts so much as how facts are delivered - oral history, first person, second person, ghost story, legend. A lesser journalist massages details to more perfectly fit a narrative. Melchor is doing something more like the opposite: playing with form to expose the lies, hypocrisies, hatreds and oversights that soften or avoid the reality of human evil. Melchor isn't claiming to know the whole story. But what she means to say is that we should think twice before we do as well.' - Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times 'Skillfully translated by Hughes, 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.' -Kirkus starred review 'Melchor resists the seductive burden of explaining the realities (or exaggerations) of such non-European regions in blistering, true-crime detail. Though based on real events, these relatos are decidedly not journalistic, and not even realist. Melchor's prose blooms under that strange light.' - Lisa Yin Zhang, Frieze
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