His Name Was Death is, without a doubt, one of the greatest novels in the history of Mexican literature.
—Francisco Prieto

Never before in English, this legendary precursor to eco-fiction turns the coming insect apocalypse on its head

Available November 2, 2021

His Name Was Death

Fiction by Rafael Bernal

Translated from the Spanish by Kit Schluter

With a contribution by Yuri Herrera

A bitter drunk forsakes civilization and takes to the Mexican jungle, trapping animals, selling their pelts to buy liquor for colossal benders, and slowly rotting away in his fetid hut. His neighbors, a clan of the Lacandon tribe of Chiapas, however, see something more in him than he does himself (dubbing him Wise Owl): when he falls deathly ill, a shaman named Black Ant saves his life—and, almost by chance, in driving out his fever, she exorcises the demon of alcoholism as well. Slowly recovering, weak in his hammock, our antihero discovers a curious thing about the mosquitoes’ buzzing, “which to human ears seemed so irritating and pointless.” Perhaps, in fact, constituted a language he might learn—and with the help of a flute and a homemade dictionary—even speak. Slowly, he masters Mosquil, with astonishing consequences… Will he harness the mosquitoes’ global might? And will his new powers enable him to take over the world that’s rejected him? A book far ahead of its time, His Name Was Death looks down the double-barreled shotgun of ecological disaster and colonial exploitation—and cackles a graveyard laugh.

Buy from:

Paperback (published November 2, 2021)

ISBN
9780811230834
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
144

Ebook

ISBN
9780811230841

Rafael Bernal

Mexican writer

His Name Was Death is, without a doubt, one of the greatest novels in the history of Mexican literature.
—Francisco Prieto
Complex, chilling and slapstick—a doozy.
—John Williams, The New York Times
It could be said that Rafael Bernal was to Chiapas what Joseph Conrad was to the Congo. Bernal, with a wave of his hand, clears the fog away so that those who want to see our reality—the reality of Chiapas, which has changed so little in seventy years—can glimpse it in all its dark brilliance.
—Juan Pablo Villalobos