When you read a novel entitled Signs Preceding the End of the World, you find yourself looking for small details to see if you can detect any of these signs. The trick the author plays on the reader is to make the scope and frame of the novel so epic and vast that small details seem in short supply. The reader’s search for signs echoes that of the novels central character Makina and her search for her younger brother, who has crossed the border between Mexico and the United States.
Any signs the reader thinks they may have uncovered never seem to signify quite what you think. The novel is particularly good in describing harsh desert landscapes and the effect they have on their inhabitants. The language used in this translation is evocative and dry, the events extreme and violent, all hung on a simple, straightforward plot-line. Themes of poverty, need, and crossing boarders both physical and moral are never far from the surface. The titular signs, however, remain tantalisingly elusive.
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the 2016 Brave New Reads. View the rest of the Brave New Reads books.