After the American Dirt controversy earlier this year, I was eager to pick up more #ownvoices Central and South American literature. That’s why I was overjoyed to receive this copy of Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (translated into English by Sophie Hughes) from the wonderful team at Text Publishing.
Recently short-listed for the 2020 International Booker Prize, this murder mystery (of sorts) set in rural Mexico is actually inspired by real events, an honest-to-goodness witch hunt, near Melchor’s hometown.
It all begins when a group of children discover a decomposing body in a canal, that of the local Witch, and the story unfolds through the perspectives of bystanders, accomplices, and (of course) the perpetrators…
That sounds benign enough, but I’ve got to tell you: this is a HEAVY read, more horror than whodunnit. Trigger warnings for literally everything you can imagine. It has these beautiful long lyrical sentences that lure you in, but the visceral, carnal, brutal nature of the events it depicts are not for the faint of heart.
This is a challenging and confronting read that will certainly stand the test of time – if you need a “light” read right now, though, it might be best to save Hurricane Season for later.