Umami

Oneworld Publications
4
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“Ms. Jufresa: Where the f*#! did you learn to tell a story so well?”
— Álvaro Enrigue, award-winning author of Sudden Death


It started with a drowning.

Deep in the heart of Mexico City, where five houses cluster around a sun-drenched courtyard, lives Ana, a precocious twelve-year-old who spends her days buried in Agatha Christie novels to forget the mysterious death of her little sister years earlier. Over the summer she decides to plant a milpa in her backyard, and as she digs the ground and plants her seeds, her neighbors in turn delve into their past. The ripple effects of grief, childlessness, illness and displacement saturate their stories, secrets seep out and questions emerge – Who was my wife? Why did my Mom leave? Can I turn back the clock? And how could a girl who knew how to swim drown?

In prose that is dazzlingly inventive, funny and tender, Laia Jufresa immerses us in the troubled lives of her narrators, deftly unpicking their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.
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About the author

Laia Jufresa’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Pen Atlas and Words Without Borders. In 2015 she was invited by the British Council to be the first ever International Writer in Residence at Hay Festival in Wales, and in the same year she was named as one of the most outstanding young writers in Mexico as part of the project México20. Umami is her first novel. She lives in Cologne, Germany.

Sophie Hughes is a literary translator and editor living in Mexico City. Her translations have appeared in Asymptote, PEN Atlas, and the White Review and her reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Oneworld Publications
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Published on
Jul 7, 2016
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781780748931
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Umami constituye una propuesta literaria original en su afán por explorar la amplia gama de sensaciones y emociones que el ser humano -en distintas etapas de la vida- experimenta. Una novela coral en la que los personajes aprenden a reinventarse para hacer frente a las adversidades y superar sus pérdidas.

Ana quiere plantar una milpa en su traspatio, en pleno Distrito Federal. Pero en la tierra hay altos contenidos de plomo y la privada donde vive está plagada de ausencias. Su hermana murió, sus papás están de luto y sus hermanos de campamento; su única amiga se fue a buscar a quien la abandonó cuatro años atrás. Menos mal que queda Alfonso.

Alfonso es un antropólogo especializado en alimentación prehispánica. Es viudo y dueño de la privada Campanario. Él mismo la diseñó a partir de un esquema de la lengua humana y dio a las casas el nombre de cada uno de los cinco sabores que percibimos: Dulce, Salado, Amargo, Ácido y Umami.

En duelo, los habitantes de la privada desearían echar el tiempo atrás. Tejida al revés, esta novela se los permite. Mientras Ana remueve la tierra y clava las semillas, sus vecinos hurgan en el pasado. Pero el traspatio de la memoria está minado con preguntas: ¿Quién fue mi mujer? ¿Por qué se fue mi mamá? Y, ¿cómo es posible que se ahogara una niña que sabía nadar?

Me gusta lo ajustado de la dicción. Hablo de una entonación que crea una voz propia, nítida, mesurada, escéptica, lejanamente humorista, que procede con orden y nunca cae en la ostentación. Laia Jufresa sortea los peligros de la autocomplacencia con pericia estilística pero, sobre todo, con concentración emotiva.

Fabio Morábito.

Umami constituye una propuesta literaria original en su afán por explorar la amplia gama de sensaciones y emociones que el ser humano -en distintas etapas de la vida- experimenta. Una novela coral en la que los personajes aprenden a reinventarse para hacer frentea las adversidades y superar sus pérdidas.

Ana quiere plantar una milpa en su traspatio, en pleno Distrito Federal. Pero en la tierra hay altos contenidos de plomo y la privada donde vive está plagada de ausencias. Su hermana murió, sus papás están de luto y sus hermanos de campamento; su única amiga se fue a buscar a quien la abandonó cuatro años atrás. Menos mal que queda Alfonso.

Alfonso es un antropólogo especializado en alimentación prehispánica. Es viudo y dueño de la privada Campanario. Él mismo la diseñó a partir de un esquema de la lengua humana y dio a las casas el nombre de cada uno de los cinco sabores que percibimos: Dulce, Salado, Amargo, Ácido y Umami.

En duelo, los habitantes de la privada desearían echar el tiempo atrás. Tejida al revés, esta novela se los permite. Mientras Ana remueve la tierra y clava las semillas, sus vecinos hurgan en el pasado. Pero el traspatio de la memoria está minado con preguntas: ¿Quién fue mi mujer? ¿Por qué se fue mi mamá? Y, ¿cómo es posible que se ahogara una niña que sabía nadar?

Me gusta lo ajustado de la dicción. Hablo de una entonación que crea una voz propia, nítida, mesurada, escéptica, lejanamente humorista, que procede con orden y nunca cae en la ostentación. Laia Jufresa sortea los peligros de la autocomplacencia con pericia estilística pero, sobre todo, con concentración emotiva.

Fabio Morábito.

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