Yuri Herrera

A Silent Fury: The El Bordo Mine Fire

On March 10, 1920, in Pachuca, Mexico, the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company—the largest employer in the region, and known simply as the Company—may have been guilty of murder.

The alert was first raised at six in the morning: a fire was tearing through the El Bordo mine. After a short evacuation, the mouths of the shafts were sealed. Company representatives hastened to assert that “no more than ten” men remained in the shafts at the time of their closure, and Company doctors hastened to proclaim them dead. The El Bordo stayed shut for six days.

When the mine was opened there was a sea of charred bodies—men who had made it as far as the exit, only to find it shut. The final death toll was not ten, but eighty-seven. And there were seven survivors.

Now, a century later, acclaimed novelist Yuri Herrera has carefully reconstructed a workers’ tragedy at once globally resonant and deeply personal: Pachuca is his hometown. His sensitive and deeply humanizing work is an act of restitution for the victims and their families, bringing his full force of evocation to bear on the injustices that suffocated this horrific event into silence.

Ebook: £6.99

More Info

Print status: Upcoming
Author: Yuri Herrera
Translator: Lisa Dillman
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 16 June 2020
ISBN: 9781911508786
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508793
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 120

Reviews

Alia Trabucco Zerán, author of The Remainder

'A precise and devastating account that peers into the dark mouths of the El Bordo mine as if they were the gates of hell. In these pages, Yuri Herrera paints a portrait of poverty and neglect and reveals, once again, the way exploitation and abuse lurk at the source of all violence.'

John Gibler, author of I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us

‘A Silent Fury is a narrative rebellion against the archive of atrocity. Herrera subverts the archive, turns it against itself, upends its silencing mission and reveals within it the traces of corporate and governmental abuse, disregard and murder.’

Arturo García Ramos
ABC

'Herrera knows how to plot an intense plot and handle an original style, as capable of revealing a miserable and anguished social reality as well as elevating with poetry the humble and everyday life in order to reach symbolic proportions.'

Matías Néspolo
El Mundo

'What Yuri Herrera does is Literature, beyond genres or labels. He amply proves it again now, after five years of silence, with a fascinating story that reads like a novel.

Jaime G. Mora
ABC Cultural

'With his characteristic sharp prose and exciting rhythm, Herrera is one of the most remarkable writers of Latin America. The El Bordo Mine Fire is an impeccable exercise of journalism.'

Josh Cook
Porter Square Books

‘A plaque. A press release. A mislabeled photograph. Like a paleontologist drawing a beast from a jaw bone, Herrera tells a story of greed, imperialism, and complicity from a few fragments of information. The El Bordo Mine Fire is just one almost forgotten tragedy but, like Rukeyser's Book of the Dead, the bright, poetic light Herrera shines on it with A Silent Fury, casting a shadow on our biggest questions.’

Keith Mosman
Powell's Books, Portland

‘Yuri Herrera explores the history of century-old mine disaster in a small Mexican town. Due to the owner’s influence, the historical record is dubious. Herrera’s investigation raises important questions about how the callousness of the powerful can ensure that a callous history is all that survives them.’


Remezcla

‘With his trio of books set in the narco-war borderlands, Herrera has shown that he’s a master of the short, tense fiction, and with A Silent Fury, he proves it further, this time venturing into a more historical mode.’  


Praise for Yuri Herrera

‘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.’ Francisco Goldman

‘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

‘My favorite of the new Mexican writers.’ John Powers, NPR Fresh Air

‘Playful, prophetic, unnerving books that deserve to be read several times.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

‘Signs Preceding the End of the World is short, suspenseful . . . outlandish and heartbreaking.’ John Williams, New York Times

‘Herrera’s metaphors grasp the freedom, and the alarming disorientation, of transition and translation.’ Maya Jaggi, The Guardian

‘Herrera packs The Transmigration of Bodies with the sex, booze and nihilism of a better Simenon novella.’ Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

'I was captured by Kingdom Cons. His writing style is like nobody else’s, a unique turn of language, a kind of poetic slang . . . seeming to fall in my hands from an alternative sky.' Patti Smith