Aided by Herrera’s ingenious application of metaphor and colloquialism—controlled artfully in Dillman’s hands—a carcass putrefying beneath the Mexican sun takes the shape of a pregnant woman giving birth, rucksacks that scatter the pathway to the border are loaded not with objects but 'crammed with time' ... Though the novel’s finale is at once dauntingly cynical and dizzyingly enigmatic, Herrera nevertheless possesses a penetrating faculty about these issues, which he captures with masterful clarity in content as well as form ... The spoken-word quality of Herrera’s prose suggests his own stories might be written with the same unbounded rapidity as Makina’s text, offering readers the kind of direct ferocity that is only rarely, if ever, matched by the author’s peers ... an enduring document of world literature.
...a lyrical Mexican migrants' tale ... From its opening pages, when gaping asphalt swallows a man, a car, a dog and 'even the screams of passersby,' this marvellously rich, slim novel is working on many levels ... Herrera’s great achievement lies in elevating the harsh epic of 'crossing' to the 'other side' to soaring myth ... Translator Lisa Dillman has found a language both blunt and lyrical for Herrera’s many neologisms.
...[a] superb novella ... In extraordinary prose he creates stark landscapes and surreal scenarios which remain with you long after the final pages ... There is an epic quality to Herrera's tale ... In his brilliant, multi-layered narratives he captures some of the conflicting forces shaping (and distorting) Mexico today and the impact of violence and xenophobia on ordinary people's lives.
Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of those rare volumes that manages to explore language in a new way, tell a compelling story, and create memorable characters all at the same time ... The author’s immense talent is evident in each page ... As Herrera constructs a strange, dreamlike world full of both menace and beauty, he draws the reader in with deeply affective description ... Herrera adopts a simple narrative structure that allows him to focus on language and character ... The author employs language and a literary perspective you won’t soon forget, his images haunting like a dream.
Signs Preceding the End of the World holds you in rapture ... That Signs is a book of movement, of crossings, plays into the feelings of unsettledness. The presence of constant moving is in the language that Herrara uses ... Signs is a novel of language, meant to be translated because it is so aware of the journeys language takes, from one to another, and within their boundaries ... When his life's path is uncovered, it too is in rhythm with the strange, shifty, beating heart of the novel, where, at least for those of us whose lives couldn't resemble those in the novel, see another reality, ever overlapping our own. Herrera and Dillman build this sensation carefully, felt even by those aware of these other experiences.
...modestly unassuming ... In this thin paperback with a simple black and white cover, he’s packed a dense and colourful world. Woven into a fast-paced narrative adventure is a powerful and poignant depiction of that complicated world-in-becoming whose bloody and fertile veins run through the US-Mexican border ... It’s remarkable what Herrera has accomplished in a short novel of just over 100 pages ... Herrera accomplishes a lot more than just an exciting short novel, however. He casts bare the essence of the border zone where the action takes place ... Herrera portrays this complex terrain with expansive and evocative depth ... Herrera’s ability to weave together intersecting injustices and identities is profound ... Easily readable in a single sitting, it’s hard to put down simply because it propels the reader along, picking up pace and accelerating with each twist of plot. The reader feels, at the end, as though they’re catching their breath. It’s unusual for a novel so full of evocative symbolism and imagery to also possess such a fast-paced plot; Herrera manages both most capably ... a profoundly important book, and one of the few such works to also have the distinction of being a profoundly enjoyable book.
This is a novel of carefully rendered details, given to the reader gracefully, as if they are simple or casual observations. Colors jump off the page, surprising bright spots of garish hope splattered on the walls of buildings ... The brilliance of this novel is that, as grounded as it is in physical experiences, it is this psychological space that it most inhabits ... This is a world we urgently need to see ... A novel whose thinness belies its depth, Signs Preceding the End of the World makes me rejoice that more of Herrerra’s work will soon be published for English readers.