Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor: A brutal, violence-laden exploration of toxic masculinity, of poverty and lawlessness

Translated by Sophie Hughes

What happens in a town where the very systems meant to provide relief turns its people against each other? In Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season, a witch’s decomposing corpse is found by a group of children near an irrigation canal. The infamous Witch is known to house women who seek revenge against misdeeds done to them by their husbands, girls seeking comfort, and is insidious with rumours about her witchcraft. La Matosa is a small town in Mexico pervaded by superstition where the laws of living barely exist creating a society so barbaric it kills whatever comes its way.

 Written in a single paragraph with unsparing prose, Hurricane Season unfolds the brutal, violence-laden exploration of toxic masculinity, of poverty, sexual terror and grave effects of capitalist structures. The novel is as much about unearthing the truth about the murder as much as it is about exposing the vulnerability of those who are unheard in the society. Hurricane Season masterfully islands the misfits, the trouble-makers and the helpless to engender a utopian system that prays upon its broken people. Fernanda’s brilliant prose rendered masterfully into English by Sophie Hughes stretches its boundaries of storytelling and language where the sentences seam endless like a long road trip, equal parts enthralling and industrious, ceasing only when its necessary.

Hurricane Season, in its rich, powerful exploration of capitalist greed and savagery with its characters existing in the peripheries, disintegrated by the tragedy and cruelty in their lives, comments on the lawlessness of a society and its people driven to extreme ends just to survive. 
I don’t think I’ve ever read such a powerful book before.

Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions

Author: Fernanda Melchor

Translation: Sophie Hughes


The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals—propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.

Like Roberto Bolano’s 2666 or Faulkner’s greatest novels, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence—real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it’s a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it

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