Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back.
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.