Hay Festival Book of the Month – April 2022

Tell us your favourite book of 2022!

It's that time of year. Journalists, reviewers and cultural pundits are making their selections of the year's best books. But in a year where books have never felt more vital, we want to hear from YOU.

Vote here

Fernanda Melchor's Paradais

"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.

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 and translated by Sophie Hughes, 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.

Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HBOTM.

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Further reading

“I wanted intensity”, EXBERLINER

Not Catharsis but Vengeance: The Startling Fiction of Fernanda Melchor, The Nation

About the author

Fernanda Melchor is widely recognized as one of the most exciting new voices of Mexican literature. In 2018, she won the PEN Mexico Award for Literary and Journalistic Excellence and in 2019 the German Anna-Seghers-Preis and the International Literature Award for Hurricane Season. Her translated works include Hurricane Season and Paradais.

Sophie Hughes has translated novels by several contemporary Latin American and Spanish authors, including Best Translated Book Award 2017 finalist Laia Jufresa (Umami). Her translations, reviews and essays have been published in The Guardian, The White Review, the Times Literary Supplement and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of a British Centre for Literary Translation mentorship and residency, a PEN Heim Literary Translation grant, and in 2018 she was shortlisted for an Arts Foundation 25th Anniversary Fellowship. Her translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s The Remainder was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

ABOUT HAY FESTIVAL'S BOOK OF THE MONTH

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a book we love and think holds particular resonance. This is our chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry year-round.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HBOTM and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please share on social media using #HBOTM.

Happy reading!