Paradais — Fernanda Melchor

This is a scorching read exploring wealth inequality, violence and misogyny. Set in a gated community in Mexico, the main character, Polo, has dropped out of school and been cajoled by his mother into getting a thankless job as a gardener. At work, he becomes acquainted with a friendless wealthy teenage boy, who has a growing obsession with a female neighbour. Polo is repelled by the boy but befriends him as he buys them both booze.

From the outset, we’re warned that something terrible is going to happen, as Polo narrates events in numb disbelief. Melchor makes gripping work of the theme of bystander implication, as events come to their ‘inevitable’, violent conclusion. It’s worth a read, and you’ll whizz through its lean 120 pages.

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