Signs Preceding the End of the World

By: Yuri Herrera
Location: FIC HER
Genre: Mexican Border Crosser- Real life- tough stuff.

So Trump wants to build a wall. Yesterday I saw a doco about the Warsaw ghetto and its wall. The wall seemed innocent at first- 100,000 died within that ghetto and those that lived got a train ride to the death camps- 400,000 of them. Innocent walls that separate, condemn and control. This story is set on on the Mexican/USA border- before a wall.

Makina is a young woman from a “Little Town” in Mexico. Although poor and inevitably associated with the criminals who dominate the town, she uses her language-skills and intellect to secure a job at the local telephone switch-board  and, thus, a position of some respect. Her mother suddenly instructs her to cross undercover into America to locate their son and brother, who has migrated and since disappeared. Soliciting the help of the local “top dogs” for the crossing, Makina is given a mysterious package to deliver once she arrives, by way of returning a favour. Her encounters with these criminals – and with their operatives on the other side – define her character wonderfully: sharp as a tack and brave to boot, she holds her own with these dangerous men. Makina makes for one of the most compelling and appealing female characters I have recently read in any kind of literature. She's not simply a 'ballsy' woman in a man's world: knowing she can't out-man the machos, she relies on her wit and discretion to get around them.  The novel has a wily strength that will hopefully see it across the borders of our own prejudice and to a place in our conscience. -Ben Paynter

"This was so, so good. The text is so spare and precise but also so deep and impactful. It's only a few pages in, when you've met the protagonist, a switch-board operator named Makina, and you see that she is smart and powerful and cool as hell, and you don't know what her journey is about exactly, but you know that your heart is already tied to hers.
It's the story of a journey from Mexico to the States, but it's also a journey through the underworld. The chapters are short but the characters she meets and the moments she experiences are indelible. It's epic, mythological in scope. I gasped at the ending, I couldn't believe where the story ended up. This is easily going to be one of my favorite books of the year. I love Makina and I love this book."- Kevin Fanning

"We are to blame for this destruction, we who don’t speak your tongue and don’t know how to keep quiet either. We who didn’t come by boat, who dirty up your doorsteps with our dust, who break your barbed wire. We who came to take your jobs, who dream of wiping your shit, who long to work all hours. We who fill your shiny clean streets with the smell of food, who brought you violence you’d never known, who deliver your dope, who deserve to be chained by neck and feet. We who are happy to die for you, what else could we do? We, the ones who are waiting for who knows what. We, the dark, the short, the greasy, the shifty, the fat, the anemic. We the barbarians."


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