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 love the experience. RB: I wonder about the aftermath of writing a novel, which requires a writer to inhabit lives for a period of time. Yuri Herrera in an interview with Armida Zepeda in A Literary Season Online “Many people think that books have a universally positive or healing function, I think that is not true: they are not there to make you happy, but to give you certain tools.” EP: I thought you asked who I read most or my favorite — at any rate. EP: Yes, right. I tried and was told that the director did mean for you to see it that way. I must have read about you in Variety. The latest issue of World Literature Today surveys thirteen writers’ dystopian visions of the future. The editor doesn’t respond. Does it strike you that there’s a craftsmanship assigned to the writers I mentioned. RB: People who collect guns or Aunt Jemima cookie jars are passionate also. This piece of writing puts a smile on my face with its protagonist's character and saddens my heart with honest depiction of our rotten system. RB: That was a while ago — it just came out in paper. EP: When I start out, it’s a lot of improvising and I write many pages of improvisation and then I begin to see what story I want to write. 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 go where I am asked. My grandson is the same way. EP: Linked stories? Let Us Help You Pick Your Next Book. The project is important. My aunt taught me to read at four. EP: It started even earlier. EP: Well, I do when I make a collection. RB: Is there one thing that moves you in taking up or developing a story — a name, an image, feeling, a memory? In fact, that is the story of Southern writers like Larry Brown and William Gay. ‘Those things you really want to silence are precisely those you should interrogate’ EP: Because literature is important. Other blood. I once was on a lineup that included David Sedaris and I was the first reader and he was the second. 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: People do come home and read no matter what their occupation is. I go to bookstores. I used it for years. RB: What was the last movie you saw you liked? Mexican Migrants are under a "Fascist Offensive" | AL DÍA News The following are edited excerpts of the interview. EP: Well, in Dickens, each time I find something, some turn of phrase, a manipulation of plot or a character I hadn’t appreciated. It’s all an abuse of the mind. 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 … It was luck. What caused the switch from poly sci to letra? EP: Thirteen new stories that had not been in a book. The Millions: I want to start by asking you about the things not said in Kingdom Cons, the unnamed countries, cities, and even characters. Again, Yuri pauses before answering. But my letters were rather long. In final pages, you learn explicitly that they were lovers once. He admits that, while writing, he has an outline, but things can and do shift with frequency. 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: 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. It can be healthy to purge dark things, but it can also excavate old and new suffering that needs to be attended to. I don’t think Dickens appears. RB: And when did your writing career start? Purchase this Issue » Volume 91 No. RB: Do you have any sense that it’s being drowned out? EP: My daughter used to read novels that way. TM: I’m interested in the influence of fairytales, folklore, and fables on your writing. Biography. EP: It is being attacked so to speak. They had previously been published in magazines. EP: Then I read the plays in order. I usually like movies when I see them. EP: It begins with the Torah being delivered, and so I had hoped that the Torah would always be somewhere in the back of the reader’s mind. The man looks puzzled and nods no, and Yuri scans about and sees me waving. If the BEA invited me, I would go. RB: Do you think the task of literature is to instruct and entertain? RB: Would you say it should be different? Keep Writing!! Lisa Dillman lives in Decatur, Georgia, where she translates Spanish and Latin American writers and teaches at Emory University. A man who looks like Yuri walks hastily into the Café. EP: I go to literary events — mostly at colleges. But it probably always was. Writing came to you as an avocation, hobby, and obsession–. I read them in order to live in them. “Kingdom Cons,” also by the Mexican author Yuri Herrera, floored me. For the first time in my writing life, I think the future is going to be a better balanced one. He accepts, and, only after my wife insists, sits in the front passenger seat. RB: And then you got better since you wrote it? RB: Movies are made that way — out of narrative sequence. Mexican author Yuri Herrera discusses his novel Signs Preceding the End of the World ahead of his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Become a member today. It’s not one — something I dream–. EP: Yes, we have to have our end not only in mind, but pointed towards, within the story. program at the University of Texas, El Paso and a P.h.D. EP: Right. 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. Not wholesale revision. Signs Preceding the End of the World is his second novel, and was published in English in 2015. RB: Dickens makes appearances in a number of contemporary novels — Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs. Still, Yuri gets out of the car slowly and then patiently waits for me, my wife and daughter. EP: I don’t know – eight. YH: I don’t know if it’s the main reason, but it’s something that you are going to have to face if you truly engage with the creative labor, because art implies creating new ways of looking at familiar subjects, and in order to do that you have to disassemble rules, meanings, certainties, you have to look at the arbitrariness of certain aspects of reality, or at the nonsense of cruelty, or at the complications of love, and in this manner you can not only mess with your readers’ emotional stability, but with your own. RB: How do you know? I tell Yuri that he mentioned in an earlier online interview that he enjoys reading The Bible and viewing it as a work of written craft. I ask Yuri if his creative process starts with a person, a landscape, or plot? EP: Only one person speaks in her own voice — that’s the mother. RB: And there was a review in the LA Times that took the same tone. I was charmed by their initial close proximity which was brought to some fruition much later. 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. EP: I would, but I am not a proselytizer. That is to say, my making is finished. EP: No, I have a general love of movies. RB: There is this meme of the educated working class guy who finishes his shift on the assembly line and goes home and picks up William Faulkner. Isn’t there a whole bunch of culture you are missing? It’s always an issue, the immediacy of our reaction — you may hate a book one day and find it quite readable the next. What a masterpiece! EP: I liked The King’s Speech. As he explained to me in an interview, Herrera’s protagonists share a border condition, something much more complex than simply occupying the border between two countries: a border is “any situation where you have different individuals and different communities exchanging values, exchanging goods, always in conflict but also in different levels of dialogue.” He studied Politics in Mexico, and has a PhD in Literature from Berkeley. As for the other characters, it has to do with the role that the King assigned to them, their names signal the tension between what they might or might not want to do and what power expects from them. I also admit to laughing at having read the phrase “Hijuelachingada,” which may sound odd to non-Mexican ears. 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… RB: Why are writers like Alice Munro, William Trevor, and yourself admired in a way that seems different than many writers? Don’t you think? RB: One writer told me that she submits the draft — her editor sends a back a few notes, which enrage her. RB: Really – writer’s block? Sunday, January 17 at 6:00 PM . I’m curious what your relationship is to your translated texts? EP: Music mostly. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? RB: Big city life in Baltimore — drugs, unions, corruption, public schools, politics, media. Should more novels be small and distilled? I think that view is actually taken from Horace. We realize Yuri’s event starts in less than ten minutes. I was making my living as computer programmer, so writing was in those days confined to letters. You asked about the first book I remember reading — I am sure there were books I read before then. RB: It means I have shifted more responsibility to the writer. RB: What’s come out that has really excited reviewers? So I have probably read each book five or seven times. In Spanish with English subtitles. Wilmington? I have a feeling that I’d become addicted if I started watching. EP: Well some time ago they might have been plowing the fields. RB: Where does that impulse come from? I ask: does he know the ending for a story before he starts writing? The Beyond the Bars category is open to incarcerated juveniles nationwide, with no entry fee (one entry per person). He’s wearing a really sharp-looking, white guayabera shirt made from a fabric known as manta Hindu in Spanish. The obvious follow up question is: what is the secret to writing a good story? 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