A couple find mysterious drops of blood appearing in their house and begin a search for their origin; a man starts to suffer the urgent compulsion to bite dogs; another man finds the hand of a woman in an alley; someone else wakes up one morning with a monumental hangover, vaguely recollecting that he may have been responsible for the death of a tramp the previous evening. All the characters in these stories discover a crime where they least expected to find one. And, from this perspective, Barrera Tyszka offers a crude vision of Venezuela today. In Crímenes the limits of legality are explored while our moral conventions are questioned through an investigation of a multiplicity of transgressions. Barrera Tyszka uses a sharp, clean and direct prose, yet at the same time his writing is enigmatic and full of a particular lyricism. This book, which follows the best traditions of Latin American crime fiction, confirms Barrera Tyszka as one of the essential voices of his generation.

"A direct and breakneck narrative, that also manages to be enigmatic and lyrical” (Diario de Pontevedra).

"Ten stories infused with a subtle, but omnipresent violence… Stories that we read with a growing sense of anxiety. The prose of this author, propelled by a frenetic narrative rhythm and with an elaborate simplicity, takes hold of us and doesn’t release us until its conclusion. A book to be read in a single sitting, leaving us with a bittersweet taste as we realise that violence, in any of its multiple incarnations, can confront us at any time and without warning, to change our lives forever. You, reader, will decide the ultimate fate of these stories” (Clemente Barahona, El Norte de Castilla).

"Barrera Tyszka occupies a territory of suggestiveness, a landscape where fear depends on as much in what is said, as in that what is imagined; yet this does not reduce the sense of dread, it enhances it. In this territory, Barrera moves with consummate freedom and skill” (Carlos Tomás, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos).

"En 2006 Barrera Tyszka won the Premio Herralde with the novel La enfermedad, an original book that was without doubt a better work than the majority of its contemporaries. These stories continue that excellence… Barrera is an explorer of uncertainty in two senses: as an investigator of the unknown and as a metaphor of dreams, of the turbulent pathways that end in chaos… My readers know that I am not usually given to outbreaks of enthusiasm and I always measure my words carefully, but these stories deserve acclaim. Read them” (Antonio Garrido, Sur).

"Alberto Barrera Tyszka’s language is economical, hypnotic and full of poetical allusions...” (Iván Thays, Moleskine Literario).

"Alberto Barrera Tyszka manages to charm the reader with imperceptible crimes, while he runs with his obsessions about time, women and the misery of a world able to show its true horror, without anyone actually noticing” (Perfil).

"The combination of a narrative in real time and a flashback to the stale blood of past crimes, added to the fact that those crimes are always open-ended, means that characters accumulate their destinies, even when the their stories have finished. It is as if this book of short stories were really a novel in which, in different places but at the same time, fresh meat is confronted with stale blood. Something that the author himself points to when he says in one of those stories that “time is the only perfect crime”" (Juan Pablo Bertazza, Radar Libros, Página/12).

"In Crímenes the author demonstrates that he has developed a fine narrative voice and a strong sense of rhythm, which he uses to tell stories that unfold like brief and continuous waves"  (Rafael Osío Cabrales, Revista Arcadia).

"Few authors dare to take on such intellectually unfashionable subjects with such bravery... Barrera does not only look away from the subject, he explores it with expressive honesty, maybe because bitterness, crime and disgust are the passwords with which those writers who still feel a commitment to telling the truth, must face the new millennium” (Miguel Gomes, Letras Libres).


  • UK (MacLehose Press)
Alberto Barrera Tyszka

Alberto Barrera Tyszka

Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Caracas, 1960) is a poet and novelist. He has writen the novel También el corazón es un descuido, the book of short stories Edición de lujo, and also the collections of poetry Coyote de ventanas and Tal vez el frío. Together with the journalist Cristina Marcano, he has published the first documented biography of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez sin uniforme. Una historia personal, to great international interest. He has a degree from the School of Literature of the University Central de Venezuela, where he is also a professor. For years he has worked as a TV script writer, writing soap-operas in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. A number of his articles have been published in the Venezuelan and internatonal media in El País, Letras Libres, Etiqueta Negra, Gatopardo, among others. Since 1996 he has been a columnist on El Nacional newspaper.