Fernanda Melchor’s Many-Voiced Mexican Noir

Ana Cecilia Alvarez at Bookforum:

Melchor’s sentences ensnare the reader within the characters’ delusions, their small, persistent faiths, their regrets, their resentments. Her prose is as ornate as Sebald’s, turning in on itself, forming fractal spirals of meaning. But while Sebald’s sentences have a stately, lecture-hall air to them, Melchor’s sound more like a drunk’s slurred tale. It’s the breathless monologue of good gossip or the bitter outpouring of religious profession, with no paragraph break, no gasp for air. What makes the writing mesmerizing is the almost imperceptible way that Melchor is able to inflect each character’s voice within the novel’s sustained tone of a close, omniscient third-person narration. The effect, subtle yet transfixing, is of a narrator slipping into each character as if slipping into a new skin, without collapsing into any stable “I.”

more here.