Umami (Hardcover)

Umami Cover Image
By Laia Jufresa, Sophie Hughes (Translator)
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Shortlisted for the Best Translated Fiction Book Award, 2017
"Ms. Jufresa: Where the f*# did you learn to tell a story so well?" -- lvaro Enrigue, award-winning author of Sudden Death

As heard on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

It started with a drowning.

Deep in the heart of Mexico City, where five houses cluster around a sun-drenched courtyard, lives Ana, a precocious twelve-year-old who spends her days buried in Agatha Christie novels to forget the mysterious death of her little sister years earlier. Over the summer she decides to plant a milpa in her backyard, and as she digs the ground and plants her seeds, her neighbors in turn delve into their past. The ripple effects of grief, childlessness, illness and displacement saturate their stories, secrets seep out and questions emerge -- Who was my wife? Why did my Mom leave? Can I turn back the clock? And how could a girl who knew how to swim drown?

In prose that is dazzlingly inventive, funny and tender, Laia Jufresa immerses us in the troubled lives of her narrators, deftly unpicking their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.

About the Author

Laia Jufresa was born in Mexico City, grew up in the cloud forest of Veracruz, and spent her adolescence in Paris. In 2001, she returned to Mexico City and discovered she didn't know how to cross a street. She's been writing fiction ever since. She holds a BA from La Sorbonne University and is the author of the short story collection El esquinista. Her work has been featured in several anthologies as well as magazines such as Letras Libres, Pen Atlas, Words Without Borders and McSweeney's. In 2014 Laia was invited to write chronicles for the Crossing Border Festival in The Hague, and in 2015 she was invited by the British Council Literature to be the first ever International Writer in Residence at the Hay Festival in Wales. Laia was named one of the most outstanding young writers in Mexico, as part of the 2015 project México20, the anthology of which was published in 2015. She currently lives in Cologne, Germany. Sophie Hughes is a literary translator and editor living in Mexico City. Her translations have appeared in Asymptote, PEN Atlas, and the White Review and her reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781780748917
ISBN-10: 1780748914
Publisher: ONEWorld Publications
Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Pages: 240
Language: English