A groundbreaking voice in contemporary Latin American literature, María Fernanda Ampuero’s writing is “raw and savage” as she confronts machismo, inequity, and violence in this acclaimed short story collection (Vistazo).
An undocumented woman answers a job posting only to find herself held hostage, a group of outcasts obsess over boys drowned while surfing, and an unhappy couple finds themselves trapped in a terrifying maze. With scalpel-like precision, Ampuero considers the price paid by those on the margins so that the elite might lounge comfortably, considering themselves safe in their homes.
Simultaneously terrifying and exquisite, Human Sacrificesis “tropical gothic” at its finest—decay and oppression underlie our humid and hostile world, where working-class women and children are consistently the weakest links in a capitalist economy. Against this backdrop of corrosion and rot, these twelve stories contemplate the nature of exploitation and abuse, illuminating the realities of those society consumes for its own pitiless ends.
María Fernanda Ampuero is a writer and a journalist, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1976. She has been published in newspapers and magazines around the world, and is the author of the journalistic narrative nonfiction titles Lo que aprendí en la peluquería and Permiso de residencia. She is also author of the short story collection Cockfight, which has been translated into several languages, and recipient of the Cosecha Eñe Award for Short Stories. In 2012 she was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Latin Americans in Spain, and in 2018, she won the first Mad Women Fest Short Story Prize.
Frances Riddle has translated numerous Spanish-language authors including Isabel Allende, Claudia Piñeiro, Leila Guerriero, and Sara Gallardo. Her translation of Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2022 and her translation of Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic was awarded an English PEN grant in 2021. Her work has appeared in journals such as Granta, Electric Literature, and theWhite Review, among others. She holds a BA in Spanish Language from Louisiana State University and an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Buenos Aires. Originally from Houston, she now lives in Buenos Aires.
Frances Riddle is a literary translator, specializing in the translation of contemporary Latin American literature into English. She has a BA in Spanish literature and an MA in translation studies from the University of Buenos Aires. To date, she has translated half a dozen novels for leading translation houses such as New Directions Publishing, Dalkey Archive Press and Charco Press. She lives in Buenos Aires.
"Fast, fierce and relentlessly brutal, these 12 stories are the literary equivalent of a feminist death metal album." —New York Times
“Set against backdrops of immigrant struggles and crumbling tropical infrastructures, Ampuero’s exquisite writing explores the nuances of the Latina experience in her home country and abroad.” —Southern Review of Books
“The stories in Human Sacrifices show that one’s security in a capitalist, patriarchal society is never guaranteed; there must be sacrifices—human ones—to stay afloat.” —Full Stop
“Visceral... there’s a great deal of humanity in these difficult stories.” —Publishers Weekly
”Terrifying stories that dazzle with formal experimentation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Uniformly excellent… it’s a feat to have twelve equally strong stories in one collection.” —Locus Mag
“Wildly imaginative and seriously dark.” —Book Riot
“This is a haunting book.” —Ms. Magazine
“A Latine and feminist gothic must-read.” —Autostraddle
“Ampuero is a stylish writer, but her stories are dangerous whirlpools, dragging the reader into their deadly undertow."—The Daily Mail
“Much like the harsh systematic forces that plague her work, Ampuero doesn’t relinquish her ever-tightening grasp till the book’s end.”—Big Issue
“María Fernanda Ampuero’s writing is pure horror and aesthetic joy. Human Sacrifices is a magnificent book that still haunts me to this day.” —Mónica Ojeda, author of Jawbone
"Raw and savage, delving into the violence of machismo, inequality and abuse." —Vistazo
“The reader is immersed into a violent and cruel world, described in splendid prose. . . . Ampuero writes from fury." —Vanguardia (Mexico)