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10/3/24 7:00 pm
Yuri Herrera: Season of the Swamp

Join us on Thursday, October 3rd, for a reading and conversation celebrating the release of Yuri Herrera's new novel, Season of the Swamp, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman, a major new work of fiction set in 19th century New Orleans. Herrera will be joined in conversation by Deb Olin Unferth. This event will take place at First Light Books at 7pm. Paid tickets include a reserved seat and a copy of Season of the Swamp.

about the book

New Orleans, 1853. A young exile named Benito Juárez disembarks at a fetid port city at the edge of a swamp. Years later, he will become the first indigenous head of state in the postcolonial Americas, but now he is as anonymous and invisible as any other migrant to the roiling and alluring city of New Orleans.

Accompanied by a small group of fellow exiles who plot their return and hoped-for victory over the Mexican dictatorship, Juárez immerses himself in the city, which absorbs him like a sponge. He and his compatriots work odd jobs, suffer through the heat of a southern summer, fall victim to the cons and confusions of a strange young nation, succumb to the hallucinations of yellow fever, and fall in love with the music and food all around them. But unavoidable, too, is the grotesque traffic in human beings they witness as they try to shape their future.

Though the historical archive is silent about the eighteen months Juárez spent in New Orleans, Yuri Herrera imagines how Juárez’s time there prepared him for what was to come. With the extraordinary linguistic play and love of popular forms that have characterized all of Herrera’s fiction, Season of the Swamp is a magnificent work of speculative history, a love letter to the city of New Orleans and its polyglot culture, and a cautionary statement that informs our understanding of the world we live in.

about the author

Born in Actopan, Mexico, Yuri Herrera is the author of three novels, including Signs Preceding the End of the World, as well as the collection Ten Planets, which was a finalist for the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize. He teaches at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books, including Barn 8 and Wait Till You See Me Dance. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her work has appeared in Granta,* Harper’s*, McSweeney’s, and the Paris Review.

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