Yuri Herrera

Signs Preceding the End of the World

Winner of the 2016 Best Translated Book Award for Fiction

Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back.

Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages – one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.

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Paperback: £8.99
EBook: £5.00

More Info

  • Read more about Yuri Herrera here.
  • Translated by Lisa Dillman, who is based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she translates Spanish, Catalan and Latin American writers and teaches at Emory University. Her recent translations include The Frost on His Shoulders by Lorenzo Mediano, Op Oloop by Juan Filloy (longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award), Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman and Rain Over Madrid by Andrés Barba.
  • Hear Herrera discussing his first ever book in English with Green Apple Books here and talking to Richard Lea on Guardian Podcast about borderlands and border crossing (from 15m 40s in).
  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before Signs Preceding the End of the World went to the printers, you would have received the first edition of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribe.
Print status: Available
Author: Yuri Herrera
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 5 March 2015
ISBN: 9781908276421
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276438
Availability: World (excl Aus & NZ)

Reviews

Maya Jaggi
The Guardian

‘[T]his marvellously rich, slim novel is working on many levels . . . Herrera’s great achievement lies in elevating the harsh epic of “crossing” to the “other side” to soaring myth. There are allusions to Odysseus, Orpheus and the Styx, the river of Greek mythology that was a border to the Underworld; as well as Mesoamerican stories of shapeshifting and rebirth . . . Herrera’s metaphors grasp the freedom, and the alarming disorientation, of transition and translation . . . Translator Lisa Dillman has found a language both blunt and lyrical for Herrera’s many neologisms.’

John Williams
New York Times

‘Short, suspenseful . . . outlandish and heartbreaking.’

Sam Sacks
Wall Street Journal

‘Mr. Herrera’s writing is poetic and defamiliarizing; translator Lisa Dillman has done well to capture his neologisms, which shift the setting into the surreal . . . In this legend-rich book, to immigrate is to enter forever the land of the shades.’

Anthony Cummins
Times Literary Supplement

‘The narrative invites reflection on the migrant experience and cultural difference; it also supplies the excitement of an adventure with gangsters, guns and false leads . . . Yuri Herrera combines a dreamlike setting with vigorous style.’

Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name

‘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. Signs Preceding the End of the World delivers a darkly mythological vision of the U.S. as experienced by the “not us” that is harrowing and fierce. The profoundly dignified, mind-boggling Makina, our guide and translator, is the heroine who redeems us all: she is the Truth.’

Valeria Luiselli

‘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.’