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Lisa Dillman

Andrés Barba's <br><i>Such Small Hands</i>

Andrés Barba's
Such Small Hands

Reviewed by Mark Haber

Put simply: childhood is strange. Countless writers have tried to capture this strangeness, the landscape of novelty that is a child’s world. Such Small Hands, a slim and haunting novel by Andrés Barba, not only succeeds at this but does so in one hundred haunting pages. Each one of these pages is exquisite, and the end result is a perfectly expressed work that transmits the perverse and bizarre experience that is youth, where games signify life and death and where relationships are teased and pushed to the breaking point. Childhood: part fairy tale, part nightmare...

Yuri Herrera's <br><i>The Transmigration of Bodies</i>

Yuri Herrera's
The Transmigration of Bodies

Reviewed by Mark Haber

The Mexican author Yuri Herrera knows the fine line between the real world and the fantastic; his first two novels in English skirt this line to perfection. His first book to be translated, Signs Preceding the End of the World, follows a young Mexican girl, Makina, as she crosses the border into the United States, a journey fraught with peril and untold dangers. Upon reading the book, it was evident that Signs Preceding the End of the World was no typical border novel and Herrera no typical writer. The story, deftly told in spare but harrowing strokes, is infused with a mythical ambience, leaving the reader room to imagine the cultural and political consequences Herrera only hints at. The Transmigration of Bodies, his second book to appear in English, inhabits the same world, and reading it after Signs Preceding the End of the World underscores the feeling that the color has been switched on and volume raised...