By Carmen Boullosa
Translated from the Spanish by Shelby Vincent
Three narrators from different historical eras are each engaged in preserving history in Carmen Boullosa's Heavens on Earth. As her narrators sense and interact with each other over time and space, Boullosa challenges the primacy of recorded history and asserts literature and language's power to transcend the barriers of time and space in vivid, urgent prose.
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
From Carmen Boullosa, winner of Mexico’s prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia Award, comes Heavens on Earth, a testament to the power of the written word in transcending political, racial, and cultural barriers to create and preserve history. Lear, officially known as 24, lives in L’Atlàntide, a utopian post-apocalyptic society placing increasing limits on the use of language. Steadfast in her resistance to new regulations and pressure to conform, Lear continues to transcribe the writings of Don Hernando, a 16th century Indian priest, and of Estela in the 20th century, an early translator of Don Hernando’s work. Though separated by time and space, Lear and Estela find strength in Hernando’s words, ultimately rebelling against their respective societies in a struggle for remembrance.
Cloud Atlas meets Savage Detectives in Carmen Boullosa’s Heavens on Earth as three narratives thread together in a captivating exploration of memory, language, and humanity.
“[Boullosa] is witty, wacky, iconoclastic, post-modern and thoroughly original.” —The Modern Novel blog
“Mexico’s best woman writer.” —Roberto Bolaño
“A luminous writer . . . Boullosa is a masterful spinner of the fantastic.” —Miami Herald
“Carmen Boullosa writes with a heart-stopping command of language.” —Alma Guillermoprieto
“I don’t think there’s a writer with more variety in themes and focuses in his or her writing. . . . The style and range of Carmen Boullosa is unique for its versatility and its enormous courage.” —Juan Villoro
” . . . a cross between W. G. Sebald and Gabriel García Márquez.” —El País
“The world of Carmen Boullosa is revealed as a sui generis form weathering the storms of history.” —Letras Libres
“Carmen Boullosa is, in my opinion, a true master.” —Alvaro Mutis, author of The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll
“The book occupies a Borgesian tradition in which possible and impossible exist simultaneously in one text.” —John Trefry, Full Stop
“Read Boullosa because she is a masterful commander of fantastic language.” —M. Bartley Seigel, Words Without Borders
Carmen Boullosa is one of Mexico's leading novelists, poets, and playwrights. She has published over a dozen novels, two of which were designated the Best Novel Published in Mexico by the prestigious magazine Reforma—her second novel, Before, also won the renowned Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for Best Mexican Novel; and her novel La otra mano de Lepanto was also selected as one of the Top 100 Novels Published in Spanish in the past 25 years. Her most recent novel, Texas: The Great Theft won the 2014 Typographical Era Translation Award, was shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Translation Award, and has been nominated for the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award. Boullosa has received numerous prizes and honors, including a Guggenheim fellowship. Also a poet, playwright, essayist, and cultural critic, Boullosa is a Distinguished Lecturer at City College of New York, and her books have been translated into Italian, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian. Shelby Vincent received her PhD in Literary Translation from the University of Texas at Dallas's School of Arts and Humanities in 2015. She is currently translating another of Boullosa's novels entitled The Virgin and the Violin, which is loosely based on the female Renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola, and which Deep Vellum will publish in 2018.