RB: Richard Russo introduced the volume of Best American Stories he guest edited with an amusing anecdote about Isaac Bashevis Singer visiting the campus where Russo was teaching and answering a graduate student’s inquiry with the “task of literature is to instruct and entertain.” Apparently the gathering wanted a more elaborate answer. Those of us who want to sell books are delighted. Mostly there is a six-week window of attention for books and then goodbye. That’s what I think anyway.” Do you agree with the King and Scott McClanahan. RB: There is also the matter that the creator has expectations of the audience to grasp their creation in a certain way. Yuri Herrera Yuri Herrera Interview Author Yuri Herrera on ‘the American problem that Mexico is suffering’ Yuri Herrera (in Spanish) EP: Well, I take them to my friend, whom I meet every month, who is ruthless with me and I with her. And is held captive in order that the young man can read over and over and over the novels of Dickens until the old man dies. Life goes on and I write the next story. In final pages, you learn explicitly that they were lovers once. It’s all an abuse of the mind. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I do not want to tell others what is their moral or social responsibility, but the way I see it, literature gives you the opportunity to intervene in the public sphere from a freer margin, one more difficult to tame. At one point you felt the story was finished. For example, he says, he “could write an entire chapter just so it could include a single word.”, I mention the presence of phonetically-spelled words and expressions in his books’ Spanish versions. You do as well as you can for those seven people. RB: A guy takes a trip to some backwater town, and takes a train back to the capitol and meets a woman. RB: The story’s last two lines were quite powerful. The hero alone is captured by a crazy, fanatic ex-preacher who lives alone. I go where I am asked. TM: You have a very distinctive writing style: charged but very clipped, deceptively simple, with short sentences and not a lot of description. at UC Berkeley. EP: No, no. A small group of people who love it and don’t care if they are thought of as crazy. But my letters were rather long. ‘Those things you really want to silence are precisely those you should interrogate’ RB: Do you have enough time to emotionally identify with the characters? And I don’t think about a collection until I have quite a few stories. “Kingdom Cons,” also by the Mexican author Yuri Herrera, floored me. If it then goes into an anthology like Best American, I take an opportunity to correct or revise there — but not much. EP: The Tiger Wife. Mesha Maren In fact, that is the story of Southern writers like Larry Brown and William Gay. It was luck. He’s spent about seven years there and feels comfortable in the Big Easy, but hasn’t quite had enough time to “make memories.” He is very concerned about the gun violence in New Orleans that disproportionately affects young black men – he compares the bloodshed to Ciudad Juárez at the height of the Calderón presidency. I read for my other three books a lot and seven people would be there. RB: So, do you go to book related events? He would need a “truly original” idea before attempting it. He said, “If you’re not asking the question “Could this possibly destroy my life?” then you shouldn’t write it. Instead of doubt, his decision was based on confidence. RB: I am disturbed by that — I am reluctantly drawn into thinking about the business part of book publishing. I have a grandchild I walk every day. Yuri explains that he considered himself a writer even before starting studies at the Universidad Nacional y Autónoma de México (UNAM). Not wholesale revision. He studied Politics in Mexico, and has a PhD in Literature from Berkeley. And I also have a very good radio. I participate in the process only as much as they ask me to. Keep Writing!! I’m trying to think of fiction — I am sure there are others. Very interested in diving into a work of nonfiction from him. Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles Suddenly, time rears its ugly head. Silences are important because they are the most eloquent part of a creative work in how it allows the readers to reveal themselves when they fill them. As is the case with my author colloquium, Edith Pearlman and I talked about many things – Tales From Shakespeare, Hermes typewriters, Penelope Fitzgerald, reading Dickens, the task of literature, Aunt Jemima cookie jars, and more. Its a recreation of places as a way of transporting yourself, using memories to embellish your virtual surroundings. I once was on a lineup that included David Sedaris and I was the first reader and he was the second. (Laughs). Herrera’s novels are at once evocative of royal court dramas, Greek tragedies, Shakespearean romances, old world fairytales, hardboiled detective novels, and philosophical treatises on the power of art and words. ’s debut novel, Sugar Run, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in 2018. Anything And Other Stories brings out is worth checking out and Yuri Herrera in particular is just a fantastic, fascinating writer. And looking around today, it may be true but the contemplative life seems to be losing the battle. And the things we believe today, we can expect not to believe tomorrow. “He knew blood, and could see this man’s was different. She writes back to her editor expressing her anger. In Spanish with English subtitles. While avoiding aggressive Texan drivers – a staple of Houston – I recall one last question. EP: No, that’s what the destruction of Jewry was about. Read more. Don’t you think? Corridos aren’t only true; they’re also beautiful and just.” When I read this quote I couldn’t help but wonder if your writing process is anything like the Artist’s? TM: When the Artist’s songs were banned the King comforted him, “He smiled and his smile seemed a protective embrace that said to the Artist, Why sugarcoat the ears of those fuckers? He looks to the side for a second and says that “Yes”, he does sense “a tension, but…it can be overcome.” He then smiles and points out that, from his P.h.D. RB: Your publisher is blessed to be located in a civilized place like North Carolina (laughs). Why did you name her Tess? Yuri Herrera (Author of Signs Preceding the End of the World) (Both laugh). EP: I go to literary events — mostly at colleges. It’s a nice alternative to fiction. He says “it’s possible,” but it’s been “done before” by others. The Peauxdunque Review and the Words and Music Writers Conference are pleased that Michael Zapata has agreed to judge the 2020 Beyond the Bars category of the Words and Music Writing Competition. RB: What was the last movie you saw you liked? Let them be scared, let the decent take offense. Maybe some singers have worked for criminals, like scores of lawyers, financiers, and architects have done and still do, but the focus of these politicians is on the singers because they are an easy target, it allows them, the politicians, to transfer their responsibility to someone else, to blame artists of their own ineptitude. I must have read about you in Variety. RB: All right, I scratch that line of thought. Wilmington? It’s always an issue, the immediacy of our reaction — you may hate a book one day and find it quite readable the next. It’s not one — something I dream–. Plus the optimistic message for the readers, we have bear the costs if we wish to live in a better world. Why else be an artist?” When I read this, it reminded me of something that another writer I know, Scott McClanahan, said recently in an interview. EP: She had to get over her rage and humiliation first. I agree with the statement, “Trust the tale, not the teller.” My attitude about a story I have written may well be different from a reader’s. And I never expected to have any bigger following. Regarding the names of the characters, these are like that in order to introduce an element of tension: their names as roles create an expectation of what they are supposed to do, and each character is going to define itself by resisting or obeying that expectation. Yuri speaks excellent English, but we converse in Spanish and Yuri answers most of my questions without pause. Except for David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. Pearlman has published over 250 short fictions and works of non-fiction in all the usual (and some unusual) places, and has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, New Stories from the South, The Pushcart Prize Collection,and The O. Henry Prize Stories Collection. RB: And there was a review in the LA Times that took the same tone. And not a widespread choice. I love the narrative. Chapel Hill? program at the University of Texas, El Paso and a P.h.D. I ask Yuri if his creative process starts with a person, a landscape, or plot? And no — I don’t think I ever have. EP: I am sure I am missing things that are good. EP: It improves the individual life, I think. You asked about the first book I remember reading — I am sure there were books I read before then. This translates roughly to “son of…something not good.”. Success frequently is serendipitous. We realize Yuri’s event starts in less than ten minutes. EP: Yes, right. EP: Because literature is important. By fallible human beings. EP: I don’t know – eight. The Irish tradition has been very male heavy. RB: Working class people have to work hard — frequently taking on second jobs. EP: Yes. I was so dazzled by that that I didn’t hear the rest of the question. EP: It was a very good typewriter. , Yuri sits a bit back from the table with his body open to the entire table. RB: Is there a group of people you talk with about writing? EP: I took a course in college and a course or two in my 30s. This is the big American convocation of the book industry. But I would love to be able to create that kind of respiration, to engage with a tempo that depicts a different pace in which emotions develop. Interview with Yuri Herrera. I read Lamb with my aunt. EP: Then I read the plays in order. With excerpts included, Herrera explores his use own of language while describing the transience of memory and the challenge of translation. RB: After reading Lamb were you a fully engaged reader? In the case of Lisa, we have had a very rich dialogue, with each book we exchanged daily emails for months, and even though I suggested ways to do it, the final decisions were hers, she always found graceful, inventive solutions. EP: I have a lot of books I haven’t read. I would never skip around in a novel. EP: I have written 250 short pieces, not all fiction. And then over the years they meet. I go to festivals. The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. EP: I suppose so. The charla flows and he speaks rapidfire, like a resident of Mexico City, but without the grating Chilango tone; he clarifies that he lived in Mexico City for 13 years, but grew up in Pachuca. RB: What’s it like to be on book tour? I recognize his face and glasses, but he doesn’t see me. And I try to understand what kind of language, what kind of landscape, what kind of behaviors are organic to that core that generates meaning. EP: No, I don’t feel that way. RB: Yes, it’s mentioned in the middle of the story. He becomes the court bard at the King’s lavish palace, but soon finds out that the price he must pay to stay in this elevated world far outweighs what he receives in return. TM: I’m interested in the influence of fairytales, folklore, and fables on your writing. He accepts, and, only after my wife insists, sits in the front passenger seat. Kingdom Cons is the Mexican novelist’s first book but his third to be translated into English, and like his other two slim, impactful novels (Signs Preceding the End of the World and The Transmigration of Bodies) the story he tells reaches out its tendril hands in many different directions. A. Bruno Figueroa: Mexico has great novelists like Octavio Paz or Carlos Fuentes, but they are some of the most renowned writers of the past and I wanted to present the latest generation of brilliant novelists. EP: Improve? I don’t think that obtains any more — especially because I don’t think one can be poor with dignity in the 21st century. I did not get an MFA — I took a total of three courses. I had the luck to be plucked. I was charmed by their initial close proximity which was brought to some fruition much later. Many years ago, the writer Rivka Galchen loaned me Francisco Goldman’s first novel, The Long Night of White Chickens.The musicality and irreverence of the title was equally manifest in the verve of the writing, and in the novel’s searching questions about a … EP: Yes, we have to have our end not only in mind, but pointed towards, within the story. RB: And when did your writing career start? But he is in Richard Flanagan’s Wanting and in Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea. And she either says, “This is almost done” or “Go back.” And I do. That short fiction writers are looked as artisans? He pauses for some time, his eyes dart up, and he tilts his head from side to side subtly. RB: One writer told me that she submits the draft — her editor sends a back a few notes, which enrage her. YH: I always think my next novel is going to be as long as War and Peace, because I have many notes and I think that once I develop them it is going to be a long breadth book, but then I discover that my notes look a lot like how I want the story to sound, or that they require not more development but more concision and more versatility. I read them in order to live in them. Let Us Help You Pick Your Next Book. EP: It started even earlier. I would go to my grave with a small collection, happy. And then, for a collection of my own, I certainly have an opportunity to change or review. Yuri’s Uber is running a few minutes late, so I step into the Fellini Caffe in Rice Village, our agreed meeting place, and order an Americano. RB: And then you got better since you wrote it? The Millions: I want to start by asking you about the things not said in Kingdom Cons, the unnamed countries, cities, and even characters. I have lots of friends whom I meet for coffee. It’s not a temptation so much as I am not through with that character, so I want to write another story about them. RB: Are there generalizations with which one can describe short form fiction writers? EP: No, but a typewriter. Become a member today. Well I have several stories that take place in the same place — in soup kitchen. Stumble about? Put them to shame. Anthony Doerr got very good reviews. EP: Yes. Cause if you’re just saying what happened, why bother with a song. EP: Well, I do when I make a collection. RB: Do you know Andrea Barrett’s The Voyage of the Narwhal? I think we read [Lamb] together. The train is blocked at a tunnel and the passengers have to get off and return to the starting point — as man and the woman walk side by side, their hands come close to touching but do not. EP: No you didn’t. He approaches a white dude with a beard sitting at a table and typing away at a laptop. EP: No, no. I have three favorite stories in Binocular Vision. I have a feeling that I’d become addicted if I started watching. RB: Do you have any sense that it’s being drowned out? EP: I have particular friend and colleague whom I meet with every month who is also a writer and we exchange manuscripts. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. Mexican author Yuri Herrera discusses his novel Signs Preceding the End of the World ahead of his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I do lead a somewhat insulated life without television. He never once crosses his arms or legs. I start all over again with the knowledge that I have gotten from the improvisation. It can be healthy to purge dark things, but it can also excavate old and new suffering that needs to be attended to. My own take on Ms. Pearlman’s fair-weather fame has something to do with the limited attention paid to the practitioners of short fiction — when I grouped her in the company of much heralded short story maestros Alice Munro and William Trevor, Edith blushed (though she did not demur, false modesty is not an attribute she has). program, “Foucault can show you a lense to view society and power, but will not teach you how to write a good story.”. Sunday, January 17 at 6:00 PM . Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World is a masterpiece, a haunting and moving allegory about violence and the culture built to support and celebrate that violence. The Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera talks about the first English translation of one of his novels, the Mexica afterlife, and Dante. Your “15 minutes” has lasted since the Spring. RB: Wow. RB: For some reason, the 3200 comes up in a few stories. RB: What’s come out that has really excited reviewers? RB: Tibor Fischer’s story is particularly amazing. Learn how your comment data is processed. EP: I’ll bet its good — I like her short stories. I wondered if there is an equivalent word that you used in the original Spanish or is this something that only exists in translation? I had the honor of speaking with Herrera recently about silence, power, creation, and translation. In the case of the novel, not naming certain places helps avoiding clichés and easy formulations of issues that are much more complex than what the mass media and government speakers say. I tried and was told that the director did mean for you to see it that way. Yes there is. He mentions his digs have a yard and he shows me a picture on his phone of his adopted dog Max, a rescue. EP: Thirteen new stories that had not been in a book. I think it was Lamb’s Tales From Shakespeare. Donald Trump’s attempt at a coup was not the first staged by a US president – just the first on US soil. Q. I ask: could he someday pen a book in epistolary form, first-person letters? I am certain you know the stories of writers who have submitted their books to many publishers and were rejected. It’s supposed to be a tragic ending. So I have probably read each book five or seven times. RB: This belabors the obvious, but this a world that is far different than what we were raised in. EP: Except for one. He pauses and squints his eyes. EP: I used to use a Hermes. EP: Well some time ago they might have been plowing the fields. EP: Linked stories? And the prize givers ought to be more humble and certainly the writers. RB: Why are writers like Alice Munro, William Trevor, and yourself admired in a way that seems different than many writers? Do you understand how good this is?’”]. EP: Did you ever hear Danny Kaye’s comment when he became a success and somebody said he was an overnight sensation? I’m curious what your relationship is to your translated texts? Isn’t there a whole bunch of culture you are missing? Does he have an outline? RB: That’s the Frankfurt Book Fair. EP: I liked The King’s Speech. RB: It seems there is a renaissance of interest in typewriters. EP: It is being attacked so to speak. Edith Pearlman: Interesting question. He states that for his debut novel, Kingdom Cons, the story’s “núcleo” – “core” in English – was the tension and “inequality in power” between the musician artist and his wealthy, violent drug lord patron. It won’t last forever, so I am responding to it. RB: How do you know? RB: Dickens makes appearances in a number of contemporary novels — Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs. We know what we are and we’re good with it. For every story I find a core around which the rest of the text is going to proliferate, sometimes it is a tension between characters, sometimes it is a dramatic line, like a transformational journey, sometimes it is an atmosphere. EP: We have had and we are ruthless with each other. I have enough intensity to get involved. Any polar expeditions? Your email address will not be published. A piece here and a piece there. As it is, Ann Patchett’s introduction to Binocular Vision (Lookout Books), Pearlman’s award-winning story collection and any number of reviews ask the question, “Why have I not heard of this fine writer before?”. I text a description of myself to Yuri, stand near the counter, and wait for a table to open up. EP: I have revisited it often in interviews. EP: I don’t know that I got better — I got different. RB: They had all been previously published somewhere? There are writers absolutely as good as I am or better who write their books and don’t get noticed. If the BEA invited me, I would go. It was pretty old. I guess that is why I can’t write long novels. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Yuri sits a bit back from the table with his body open to the entire table. Some of her recent translations include Such Small Hands (winner of the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Award) and A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba; Signs Preceding the End of the World, Kingdom Cons and The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera… EP: I don’t remember. It was the one entitled “Chance.” It had a Torah study group card game. The obvious follow up question is: what is the secret to writing a good story? “The Ministry of Restraint,” in part because I didn’t know what was going to happen — how well do you remember your stories — pretty well? One is tempted to attach the pop-cultural sobriquet “overnight sensation” to writer Edith Pearlman’s current moment in the sun. The, Re: Eve's Hardcore Pokémon Challenge: Part One - Queen Mob's Tea House, Re: MISFIT DOC: The Mansplainer - Queen Mob's Tea House, Re: On-Screen Nowheres: Video games and provinces - Queen Mob's Tea House, Re: FICTION: Sami Sahab - Queen Mob's Tea House, Re: FICTION: A Diagram - Queen Mob's Tea House. Her short stories and essays appear in Tin House, The Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and other literary journals. The book is set on a border, but the border is not specified, the cities are not named, and most of the characters are referred to only by epithets or roles. RB: Big city life in Baltimore — drugs, unions, corruption, public schools, politics, media. RB: In the course of your writing career I read that you had written over 250 stories. I enjoyed the Hassidic slant, but I really like that it went somewhere I didn’t see coming. TM: Your novels were all written in Spanish and then translated, often by the same translator, Lisa Dillman, into English. He mentions his obsession with words. Some idea of Irishness that doesn’t involve being female is over. Yuri Herrera writes about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. EP: Thank you very much for putting me in that threesome. Why indeed? EP: People do come home and read no matter what their occupation is. I usually like movies when I see them. That’s been going on for 25 years. The last time I didn’t feel I got anything new and it made me wonder about past judgments about the book. EP: I am. RB: Your reading career started in earnest when, at age six? I don’t remember. RB: Are you tempted to write what seems to be a current trend–. EP: I would, but I am not a proselytizer. EP: Yes, I think I do. RB: In the last few years, I have relaxed my personal rule about finishing books that I begin–, EP: Many of my friends have said that [same] thing to me: “Now, if I don’t like it out it goes.”. Your email address will not be published. I was watching one writer listening to her own story — she said later all she could hear were the infelicities. Required fields are marked *. And this is a necessary step in order to provide a space for critical thinking, or for emotional discovery, but also for madness. It is their overwhelming hobby. The end of it is a about young people and explorers and takes place in Africa — Black Mischief? EP: That was a riff on Magwitch in Great Expectations. EP: No, I have a general love of movies. Yuri Herrera was born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970. Purchase this Issue » Volume 91 No. They had previously been published in magazines. Maybe a few were/are heroic — Truman Metzel of the late Great Expectations in Evanston Ill., or Sylvia Beach in Paris, Vincent McCaffrey in Boston. RB: Well, at least if you pay attention to The New York Times. Still, Yuri gets out of the car slowly and then patiently waits for me, my wife and daughter. The stories about the woman who works for the joint distribution committee — there are four about her. The man looks puzzled and nods no, and Yuri scans about and sees me waving. He never once crosses his arms or legs. I ask Yuri about his life in the United States and more specifically New Orleans, where he teaches at Tulane. The body can't always keep up. EP: It came to me as an occupation. My wife and daughter had tagged along to get a drink and go window-shopping at Rice Village while I did the interview; they make to exit, but Yuri – smiling, warm, and energetic – insists we all sit together. The project is important. 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