Mexico’s Yuri Herrera is clearly a monumentally gifted writer. Even in translation his mad energy, bawdy wit and clever wordplay shines through.
And yet, and yet. For some reason I bounced off both these critically-acclaimed novellas.
The Transmigration of Bodies is the more recent and more successful of the two.
The Redeemer is a freelance ‘fixer’ for organised crime. Now he has to arrange a body swap between two feuding crime families – against the backdrop of a devastating, potentially world-ending plague. And it’s all getting in the way of his quest for the condoms he needs so he can bang his hot neighbour, Three Times Blonde.
Signs Preceding the End of the World – about a perilous and surreal Mexico to US border crossing – is both provocative and timely.
And like I said, the writing in both is terrific – certainly enough to mark Herrera as an author to watch. But both these stories feel half-done – they lay solid foundations but lack a satisfying payoff. You’ll rarely find me arguing for books to be longer but I couldn’t help feeling like Herrera’s work here could have been more fully realised.
Next: get underground.