Given the events that unfold over the course of this slim volume, it's an understatement to say that there is trouble in Paradais. Wielding her language sharply, Melchor paints a bleak portrait of inequality: the opulence of those living in Paradais, a luxury housing complex, contrasts sharply with the desolate living situation in Progreso, the narco-controlled village. At the center of the novel are Polo and Franco, two misfit teenagers whose lives are defined by entitlement to what they lack--a point brought home by Melchor's resentful, and even cruel, turns of phrase. By the end, when desperation, dissatisfaction, and youthful recklessness clash violently in a macabre final act, the reader is left to contend with the detritus of unfulfilled desires and lives torn farther apart.
Paradais, by Fernanda Melchor