A Year in Reading: Yuri Herrera

December 8, 2016

coverOttessa Moshfegh’s Eileen is a book that I deliberately postponed finishing during several weeks, because I so liked the character waiting for me when I came home: her litany of complaints, dry humor and self-deprecation, and the weird suspense that fills every day of her life. The protagonist is both a dark soul in a dark world and a natural product of that time: adapted to a mediocre version of an evil environment, she explodes at a very slow pace. At face value, nothing is spectacular in Eileen’s life: her hidden desires, her public inelegance, the obscurity of her intimate life. But it all grows at a steady pace to show, inadvertently in the end, an ominous side of the American soul.

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was born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970. He studied Politics in Mexico, Creative Writing in El Paso, and took his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to great critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists, including The Guardian's Best Fiction and NBC News's Ten Great Latino Books. It went on to win the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane, in New Orleans.

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