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Now in paperback,"Paradais continues Melchor’s examination into the metaphysical assault embedded in patriarchy and classism” (Jessica Jacolbe, Vulture)
Inside a luxury housing complex, two misfit teenagers sneak around and get drunk. Franco Andrade, lonely, overweight, and addicted to porn, obsessively fantasizes about seducing his neighbor—an attractive married woman and mother—while Polo dreams about quitting his grueling job as a gardener within the gated community and fleeing his overbearing mother and their narco-controlled village. Each facing the impossibility of getting what he thinks he deserves, Franco and Polo hatch a mindless and macabre scheme. Written in a chilling torrent of prose by one of our most thrilling new writers, Paradais explores the explosive fragility of Mexican society—with its racist, classist, hyper violent tendencies—and how the myths, desires, and hardships of teenagers can tear life apart at the seams.
About the Author
Born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1982, Fernanda Melchor is “one of Mexico’s most exciting new voices” (The Guardian). Her novel Hurricane Season was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book.
Sophie Hughes has also translated José Revueltas and Enrique Vila-Matas for New Directions. She was shortlisted for the 2019 and 2020 International Booker Prize.
With a nimble command of the novel’s technical resources and an uncanny grasp of the irrational forces at work in society, the books navigate a reality riven by violence, race, class, and sex… 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 Vásquez - The New Yorker
Fernanda Melchor explores violence and inequity in this brutal novel. She does it with dazzling technical prowess, a perfect pitch for orality, and a neurosurgeon’s precision for cruelty. Paradais is a short inexorable descent into Hell.
— Mariana Enriquez
Paradais is beautiful and terrible.
— Marcus McGee - LARB
Melchor’s prose is singular, with its fair share of page-long sentences that travel from the deepest psychic corners of her characters to the broadest panoramas of Mexican life.
— Leland Cheuk - National Public Radio
Melchor’s brilliant, sinewy, streetwise second novel turns on a couple of young men in a Mexican town whose lusts take a violent turn...Melchor’s telling is psychologically revealing, finding ever deeper reservoirs of rage and dread in its characters.
— Mark Athitakis - The Los Angeles Times
Fernanda Melchor’s Paradais is brutal poetry, distilled.
— Literary Hub
Paradais warns against considering any luxurious abode as “safe” when the mere existence of such enclaves intensifies the inequalities that will eventually lead to their own demise.