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 gruelling 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, Paradaisexplores the explosive fragility of Mexican society – fractured by issues of race, class and violence – and how the myths, desires, and hardships of teenagers can tear life apart at the seams.
‘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 Enríquez, author of Things We Lost in the Fire
‘Melchor evokes the stories of Flannery O’Connor, or, more recently, Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings. Impressive.’ — Julian Lucas, New York Times
‘Fernanda Melchor has a powerful voice, and by powerful I mean unsparing, devastating, the voice of someone who writes with rage, and has the skill to pull it off.’ — Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream
‘A masterpiece of concision ... Paradais is a labyrinthine monologue on the banal violence of a modern-day teenager.’ — Virginie Despentes, author of Vernon Subutex