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'Jufresa, an extremely talented young writer, deploys multiple narrators, giving each a chance to recount their personal histories, and the questions they're still asking. Panoramic, affecting, and funny, these narratives entwine to weave a unique portrait of present-day Mexico. ' - The Millions

Umami offers the enticing prospect of a vast and filthy megalopolis being opened up'. - Independent

A lovely novel about family, friendship and community that is told through multiple points of view from people living in a small development in Mexico City. The range in characters from the recently widowed landlord, to the twenty year old "spinster” struggling to eat, to the girl building a milpa whose sister recently passed, all beautifully ties together through community, allowing for the exploration of many kinds of grief.' - BookRiot

'Umami is true to its whimsical premise, the narrative a little sweet, a little salty, by turns bitter and sour. Very umami, and very funny at times despite the tragedies that mark each household. The setup could admittedly become tired over 250-plus pages, but Jufresa also works an innovative structure that leaves the reader questioning until the end.' - Reading Group Choices

‘In Umami, language itself is a character. The talents of Sophie Hughes are displayed in Marina's constant wordplay which comes alive in her sensitive and playful translation. Jufresa's talent for neologism and her inventive structure give the novel a lightness of touch that never undermines its revelations, but rather enhances them.' - Culture Trip

‘Grief, though, is neither defined by culture nor constrained by time. Yes, Jufresa could have written Umami the "normal” way - a single perspective in chronological order with first person the whole way through - instead of this backwards telescope, alternating voices and switching perspectives between first and close third. That version of Umami would be a dark, bitter thing, like molasses in the coffee grounds. Instead, Jufresa and Hughes offer a version that is complex without weight, a saffron purée. Dynamic and delicate, Umami draws our attention without pretense.' - Rumpus

 

And here you can find some other stories which I either wrote in English or were translated by Sophie Hughes (unless otherwise noted)

Praise for UMAMI in English (translated by Sophie Hughes and published by Oneworld Publications):

'Ms Jufresa: Where the f*#! did you learn to tell a story so well?' - Álvaro Enrigue, author of Sudden Death


Umami is a debut novel that I am afraid has been criminally under-read, a slim book about community and loss that somehow doesn't feel as heavy as it could. Told from multiple perspectives within a building complex in Mexico City, it feels as if the early chapters are short stories with little in common, but Laia Jufresa magically layers them on top of each other, illuminating the secret sorrows that connect them all. It's beautifully translated by Sophie Hughes, a tall order because of the different kinds of language all of the characters use. In the end, Umami isn't resolved in the ways a traditional novel would be - but it's satisfying and moving.' - Barrie Hardymon, NPR

'This book is such a gentle and sensitive deep dive into the cycles of mourning and loss out of which families are made and unmade, terrifying and uncanny, without ever losing sight of the daily banalities of hearth and home and love. Cooked to perfection, ready to serve.' - Literary Hub

‘Umami is narrated by a child - a very, very funny child - as she grapples with the death of her sister. The novel expands to the lives of her neighbors in Mexico City, and something very special happens as their stories begin to intersect and merge. File this under the "makes-you-a-better-person" heading.'- Paste Magazine

‘Jufresa's evocative portrait of contemporary Mexico blends whimsy with poignancy. Guaranteed to challenge and move you.' - Vogue

‘Fans of contemporary literature are in for a treat'. - Press Association

‘Reading Umami is like traveling through the minds of everyone we know, guided by a soft, reliable voice that tells us: stop, listen, observe.' - Valeria Luiselli, author of The Story of My Teeth

 

 

‘Jufresa directly appeals to any reader who was once a 12-year-old girl obsessed with Agatha Christie (*cough* me), but also, and truly, this is a gorgeous book that meditates on loss and grief, healing and redemption, and also offers an enchanting look into life in contemporary Mexico.'  - Nylon Magazine

‘A tale of five lives in one block in Mexico City's inner city - in a complex designed with human tastebuds in mind - this sad and funny novel has already snagged awards, and was dubbed an "international hot property” by PW when the English rights were sold.' - Flavorwire

‘Presents an evocative and sensory insight to its central American setting…The five voices and the jumpy timeline require a little patience, but perseverance pays off'. - St John's Wood Magazine

‘A wonderfully surprising novel, powered by wit, exuberance and nostalgia.' - Chloe Aridjis, author of Book of Clouds and Asunder

‘Umami's style is whimsical and inventive…[it]'s heart, charm and originality are a welcome addition to Mexican literature'. - Emerald Street

'This book was one of my favorites this year' - Remezcla website

 

    A letter       A short story I wrote in English for  McSweeney's magazine .    

A letter  

A short story I wrote in English for McSweeney's magazine

 

 Mexican Comics  An  essay about Mexican comics,  translated by Annie McDermott and published by  PEN English.

Mexican Comics

An essay about Mexican comics, translated by Annie McDermott and published by PEN English.

  The leg was our altar   The   Mexico20   anthology featured this story, published by Pushkin Press            

The leg was our altar

The Mexico20 anthology featured this story, published by Pushkin Press

 

 

 

 

  The chronicles   Five short pieces I wrote for the  Crossing Border festival , translated by Annie McDermott. 

The chronicles

Five short pieces I wrote for the Crossing Border festival, translated by Annie McDermott. 

The cornerist

The story that gives title to my short stories book El esquinista, brilliantly ranslated by Sophie Hughes and published by Words Without Borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Only a month after its release, Umami was considered a Hot Book Property by the prestigious Publishers Weekly. 

Only a month after its release, Umami was considered a Hot Book Property by the prestigious Publishers Weekly. 

   Back to The Land    A story published by  The Short Story Project .                  

Back to The Land

A story published by The Short Story Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Writer in Residence  The three texts I wrote for the British Council from  the Hay Festival 2015 at Hay-on-Wye . Translated by Annie McDermott

Writer in Residence

The three texts I wrote for the British Council from the Hay Festival 2015 at Hay-on-Wye. Translated by Annie McDermott