Featured Author: Yuri Herrera
Works by and about Yuri Herrera in LALT No. 2:
"He entered the vestibule. I closed this set of eyes while I still had them and followed: ephemeral gelatinousness, flash of disintegration. Then I emerged from the building transformed into a rat. The moment I felt Rafa-louse jump onto my ear I began to run before anyone from the upper offices appeared transformed into a dog or cat. And because that’s my way of handling it. Run, run, run, scurry along pipes, climb walls, inhabit my new body by running. Then eat. That’s why we come out. I let Rafa feed off of me, but I myself search for remains discarded who knows when or by whom. Detritus. Delicacy. When you are a pestilent being the world stops being pestilent. "
"In this novel, a third-person narrator tells the story of Lobo, a young street musician who goes from cantina to cantina singing for tips. The narrator is careful with his words, measured; sometimes thinking like the characters and sometimes judging them, but he’s always subtle and careful. That’s why the reader knows the facts of the characters, but rarely their thoughts. Lobo sees the actions of the drug barons, or capos, which rarely named by the narrator, and he realizes they are like the King and his Court when they defend him from a drunk who does not want to pay him for his songs. Herrera then makes a culture out of his characters, cultured relationships between characters, not restricted exclusively to narco-culture. It could be a cantina in Ciudad Juárez, but it could also be a European court, where the worker is protected by the king and he fights other kingdoms and the lucky ones live and bathe in glory, while the others are gobbled up by oblivion."
"Myth, Literature, and the Border in Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera," an essay by Marcelo Rioseco
"Two subjects seem inescapable for a Mexican author who works with the space of the border: immigration, drug trafficking, and, consequently, the violence associated with these two phenomena. Nonetheless, this swift and simplifying identification can be deceiving in the effort to create a taxonomy of border literature, especially in the case of a writer like Yuri Herrera, born in Actopan in the Mexican state of Hidalgo."
"Literature as a Political Responsibility: An Interview with Yuri Herrera" by Radmila Stefkova and Rodrigo Figueroa
"Yes, Mexican drug traffickers didn’t invent sadism or madness for power. What we can see is a modality in which madness and the sadism of power are expressed, as well as certain groups of people who surround these powerful men. Now, not all narco ballads talk about the powerful, there are some that talk about common criminals, but they also talk about the victims, about the police, and this is a much more complex phenomenon. But this is the issue: in every era, under every regime, there are powerful subjects who surround themselves with people who, in one way or another, elaborate discourses that legitimize - or even eulogize - their exercise of power."