Category Archives: Book Reviews

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 57: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Signs Preceding The End of The World by Yuri Herrera is the first novel about the US-Mexico Border I can remember reading.  I read Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy years ago but it did not deal directly with the current issues about the border.

This book came to my attention during the controversy surrounding the novel American Dirt by Jeanne Cummins earlier this year.  I have not read American Dirt so I can not make a direct comment about the novel’s quality.  But it did make quite a stir in the Latinx Publishing community about lack of representation in traditional publishing while a novel like that one gets major press and recognition.  Also, I attended a conference here locally in San Antonio discussing the issues that American Dirt presents about the border and Latinos in general.  I learned about Signs Preceding The End of The World from that conference and several websites that provided alternative recommendations to read.

Herrera’s novel is only nine chapters and tells the story of Makina.  She leaves her life back in Mexico to cross the border in search of her brother.  Makina has a couple of messages: one from her mother and the other from the Mexican Underworld. The story reveals the dangers in crossing the border and violence that is enacted in order to pursue freedom.

I will admit that I could not fully embrace Makina as a protagonist.  The reading experience was like watching someone from a distance and having a huge plexiglass separating me from the protagonist.  The translation by Lisa Dillman felt authentic with Mexican slang like jefecita (little boss) and yond (over there) as examples. However, I reached the ending and wanted more story. It ended so abruptly that I thought I had missed something.

I’m glad that I read Signs Preceding the End of the World.  It opened my eyes to world that gets sensationalized on Cable News TV shows and revealed the lengths that people will go through to pursue a better life.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 36: Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Can you ever go home again? Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor attempts to answer that question. Binti returns home after a year away on a spaceship at Oozma University. She brings her friend, Okwu, for support. However, the homecoming does not go as expected and the family treats Binti like a pariah. She discovers a… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 23: Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

                “Sometimes a journey can take you far away from home. It can take you far away from what you believe. From the only world you have ever known. And make you realize how much we are connected to each other. Also, how divided we can be.” This… Continue Reading

Book Review 58: Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Indie Publishing movement of the past half-dozen years has changed the course of the publishing industry. Publishing books have become a lot easier thanks to eBooks, Amazon, and other Print-on-Demand (POD) publishers.  Would-be-novelists (like myself) that have tried to break into Traditional publishing have finally found an avenue to get their works out to… Continue Reading