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By Fernanda Melchor (trans. Sophie Hughes)
Published 23/3/22

Ant says... 'Paradais is another rip-roaring rollercoaster from Fernanda Melchor. In Paradais, Melchor sets a different scene from the dark folkloric forests of her first novel Hurricane Season. The reader finds themselves poolside in wealthy housing complex among the swamps of Mexico. Franco is a frustrated and violent teenager who is obsessed with a beautiful mother next door. In a bid to fulfil his lust, Franco lures a sidekick in Polo, the estate's young handyman whose financial frustrations have driven him to his own despair. In a desperate attempt to take control of their lives, the two hatch a final plot to escape the existence they have grown up in. Paradais is a novel about entrapment, class, the obsessions of youth and the dangerous desire to be wanted. A must read!'

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, Paradais explores 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 Enriquez, 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