WildWritingLife

wildwritinglife.blogspot.com · May 17, 2021

´Signs Preceding the End of the World´


The refined prose of Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera redefines the border crossing discussion from an average list of things one may have to talk and write to a dimension that reunites human and physical geography. At the end of this beautifully translated book from Spanish by Lisa Dillman I felt sorry for wasting my time reading novels about a relatively similar topic but executed in a very mediocre way.

The book is very short and follows Makina, a young Mexican girl going ´on the other side´ to find her brother. She is set on an assignment. Every single step of her journey is turning into a mythical upgrade. There are the words and the gestures, the precision of words displaying the details of the crossing, creating the adequate feeling of being a small point in a long chain of circumstances. ´Makina thought she could hear all the water in her body making its way through her skin to the surface´. Makina is actually the best portrayed character in the book but her role is to magnify the details of the borders - not only the preparations to go over and the human peculiarities, but the ways in which the border itself reflects into her humanity.

I would have love to read this book in its original Spanish and the end of the book has a special section dedicated to how exactly the translation was done, the details and the challenges. I would also love to read not only more by Herrera, but more literature able to explore in full responsibility and with poetic curiosity the world around, especially the border situations. Because border means always more than a random delimitation.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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