U bent hier

Gabriela Garcia recommends ‘Temporada de huracanes’ by Fernanda Melchor

“Reading for me feels like a holiday. To be somewhere and to not have a book feels like a waste of time. And I can read anything, I like to be surprised by books. There's not a specific genre that I go to, I like to get as many different stories from as many different voices I can. Oh, I wish I could get paid to read (fiction)!”

Hier staat de titel ‘1 Stad, 19 Boeken’ met enkele boeken uit de illustratie van Levi Jacobs.

“This book will grab you and not let you go”

“I discovered Fernanda Melchor thanks to 1 City, 19 Books, which was a very nice find, and I picked her because she is also from Latin America. She’s a young writer and she looks very promising. I’ve been doing some research on her and I’ve been listening to interviews after reading the book. She’s even been listed for the International Booker Prize!”

Stories we need to hear

Temporada de huracanes is a book I strongly recommend, it is very peculiar. It’s a story from the South of Mexico, from a part that used to be one of the most important ports in Latin America. It was the only area that had slaves from Africa, which means there is a lot of folklore, sorcery and mystery in the area about the philosophy and approach to life. The story is written from the perspective of the people who are trapped between the Narco wars. None of the characters are big people, the story just talks about how they live in impossible circumstances. Fernanda Melchor presents violence all the time in the book. She narrates in a way you cannot get rid of the images. She writes from the gut, she’s just an amazing teller. The feeling this book left me with is so strong. It will grab you and not let you go. And it’s good to hear these kinds of stories. Not just to see how lucky you are, but also to realize that these things are happening. I really wanted this book to be fiction, but it’s based on more truth than I wished it was based on. Reading this book feels like actually going there.”

“Ever since I grabbed a book as a kid, I’ve loved reading. I lose myself in stories, it feels like I can swim around in them. I try to read any time I can. The busier I get, the more I like to read, the more I need it. Reading for me feels like a holiday. To be somewhere and to not have a book feels like a waste of time. And I can read anything, I like to be surprised by books. There’s not a specific genre that I go to, I like to get as many different stories from as many different voices as I can. My recent discovery are authors from Africa, for example. First, I read the classics, mostly Latin-American and Cuban authors. That used to be my world, since I’m from Cuba. Then I was influenced by the Western world. And there are so many titles you can choose from, it’s hard to get off your own cloud. I think book clubs are crucial for people to discover new voices and words. Oh, I wish I could get paid to read (fiction)!”

Second home

“Brussels is my second home. It’s the first place I lived after I left Cuba, Havana and my home and comfort zone 5 years ago. Here I met my safety net, my second family. And Brussels will always mean that to me. I moved here to be a PhD candidate at the VUB. I study the structure of proteins, I look at the molecules to understand how they function. I read a lot for my work as well, but that is a different approach. Throughout my life I was more drawn to fiction, maybe as a balance. This summer I will be very busy writing my thesis. And I’ll be reading to keep myself sane.”

Orkaanseizoen • Fernanda Melchor
‘Temporada de huracanes’ • vert. Bart Peperkamp
Wereldbibliotheek, 2020 • 320 p.

> Zoek dit boek in de bibliotheekcatalogus

This interview is part of 1 City, 19 Books (2020) – a project of the Dutch-speaking Brussels libraries and Muntpunt.