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Articles tagged "Argentine Literature"

Saint Lionel

Vanoli’s campy cyberpunk roadtrip follows two low-ranking members of a barrabrava or soccer hooligan gang, which are entirely female in Vanoli’s bleak future some indeterminate number of decades from now. In the intervening decades, the Argentine countryside has been rendered massively toxic while the gritty urban landscape, for the lumpen protagonists, looks eerily contemporary save for a few advances in medical and drug technologies. The girls team up with a rural motorcycle...

From the Translator: The Eternonaut

I discovered El Eternauta while translating a poem. Until recently I considered myself to be primarily a translator of poetry. I’d made a few forays into prose, but poetry is always where I’ve situated myself as a writer, and following the conventional wisdom that one must be a poet in order to translate poetry I stuck to it. The poem, by the contemporary experimental Puerto Rican poet Nestor Barreto, is called El Eternauta, and was ultimately too hard at the time, too much in...

Alaska

The eye of the seal—my amulet—will lead me to the white bear. Is there anything more beautiful than to pursue the white bear over the white ocean? I’ve followed his trail now through many dreams; these prints in the snow, scoured by the wind and leading nowhere. I’ve looked for so long, my eyes have stopped seeing. But sometimes, in the immense whiteness, I think I hear a kind of crying, a yowl unlike any other living creature’s; and by the time the...

The White Breast, the Black Breast

My mother had a white breast and a black breast. Upon waking she would take the white breast in her hand and lifting it to my lips say: Drink, my child, and I would drink a very sweet, thick white milk. Later she would pinch the black nipple between her fingers and putting it to my mouth repeat: Drink, my child, and I would drink a dark and infinitely bitter milk. My mother had a white breast and a black breast. By day, cupping the white breast in her hand like a dove, she would...

Epistle

Jews ask for signs, Greeks for wisdom, but I say: Go crazy. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? The light of the world has been palmed. You’re blind? Rejoice in your blindness. You’re deaf? Rejoice in your deafness. The blind have been chosen to see it all, and the deaf to hear what’s inaudible. Yes, go crazy. Because all the eyes have been veiled, and we see only what we don’t see.         Because all the ears...

The City of the Sun

Charged as fabulists and cast out of the city, we wander back and forth, sleeping now in caves, now in the open, feeding on herbs and roots, and when we’re lucky enough, honeycomb. Our women and children have come with us, and when we gather around the evening fire they turn, one after the other, to look at the city: after all, we lived part of our lives there. But reason insisted. How could they stand for it, our calling the stones rivers? The trees stars? How could they...

The Bather

For more than ten years, Olga had been bathing people in their homes. She didn’t earn a fortune, but she lived comfortably.  Her taxes were paid and her refrigerator was full. She even had enough for a movie once or twice a week, and every summer she could afford to take a two-week vacation to visit her sister in Entre Ríos.  Most important of all: she didn’t have to worry about the competition. Nobody else wanted to get involved in the home-bathing business....

God’s Punishment

                                                For Héctor Schmucler Let’s say the protagonist of this story is General Pompeyo Argentino del Corazón de Jesús González, announces Toto Spinetto the night he arrives in...

The Two Coins

Portitor has horrendus aguas et                                                                       flumina servat terribili squalore Charon( . ....

from “Gombrowicz in Argentina”

Rita Gombrowicz’s Gombrowicz in Argentina (Gombrowicz en Argentine, 1984) and Gombrowicz in Europe (Gombrowicz en Europe, 1988) pull together her years of research into Witold Gombrowicz's life and work, along with her recently launched Web site on the author, www.gombrowicz.net. The books are structured as a unique biographical pastiche, comprised of interviews, commentary, photographs, and other ephemera tracing the writer's path from Poland to Argentina, where he...

Five Poems from “Mouth of Hell”

The ephemeral, suddenly, dazzling, like the shrewd play of verses. Steep curve. A river of hermetic prestige diverted from its own digressions. Possible visions to capture the cry of the human. An urging, tenebrous beauty, remotely related to God, like the excrescence of something forgotten.   Flashes of euphoria and passion for objects. High in recessed tombs, men classify nothingness, as if scribbling leaves on a mystic tree. Hours, centuries pass. Sometimes they descend...

The Golden Hare

In the bosom of the afternoon the sun illuminated her like a conflagration in the engravings of an ornate Bible. Not all hares are alike, Jacinto, and it wasn't her fur, believe me, that distinguished her from the other hares, not her Tartar eyes nor the whimsical shape of her ears. It was something that went far beyond what we humans call personality. The innumerable transmigrations of her soul had taught her to become invisible or visible at certain moments, in complicity with God...

A Line in the Sand

  Ruth was making mountains with a foot. She dug with her big toe in the warm sand, made little mounds, tidied them up, carefully smoothed them with the sole of her foot, contemplated them a little. Then she destroyed them. And started all over again. Her feet were red and stung like solar stones. Her nails were painted from the night before. Jorge was digging up the beach umbrella, or trying to do so. "I have to buy a new one," he muttered as he struggled with it. Ruth pretended...

Preserves

A week, a month go by and we’re getting used to the idea that Teresita will get the jump on our plans. I’m going to have to give up the fellowship because in a few months it’s not going to be easy to continue. Maybe not because of Teresita, but out of sheer anguish, because I can’t stop eating and I’m starting to get fat. Manuel hands me food on the sofa, in bed, in the yard. Everything organized on the tray, clean in the kitchen, stocked in the pantry, as if...

from Botany of Chaos

In this age of speed and technology, when people can barely keep up with email and appointments scheduled in palm pilots, the short short story has particular appeal for the reader with little time to spare. Even the ancient Greeks understood the relationship between speed and writing. As Italo Calvino tells us in his essay on the virtues of "Quickness" in literature, the god of communication and the inventor of writing is none other than Mercury, the agile deity of winged feet. The short...

from The Literature Conference

Part One: The Macuto Yarn On a journey I recently had cause to make to Venezuela, I had the opportunity to admire the famous "Macuto Yarn," one of the Wonders of the New World. It is the legacy of nameless pirates, a tourist attraction, and an enigma without answer. It constitutes a strange moment of naivete that traversed the impenetrable centuries and in the process became one with a Nature that in these latitudes is as rich as every new growth it engenders. Macuto is one of those...

That Woman

This story was inspired by a bizarre episode in Argentinean history. After the overthrow of Juan Perón in 1955, the embalmed corpse of his wife, the immensely popular "Evita," was stolen by the military in an attempt to prevent the opposition from using it as a political rallying point. The body was moved from place to place until it was finally buried secretly in Milan. "That Woman" is based on an actual interview the author conducted with the military official who was responsible...

A Modern Hero

There are no heroes in the city. Nor in the country. This is the problem that modern women face. Our men don't go to war, and if they did it would be out of stupidity or irresponsibility. Even so, we need our heroes, just as we have at all times in history; but we are no longer sure of what the word means. Felipe, though, was sure. He had two heroes: Superman, who could fly, and who punished the enemies of the Earth and was in love with Lois Lane; and Martín—his father,...

from Reina’s Flight

The President Has Mystical Visions." This was the headline in the Heraldo. Mr. Camargo had been convinced that the Heraldo, his newspaper's rival, would not publish a single word about the scandalous bank deposits made by the president's son in Sao Paulo. Even if they had any information, they would conceal it. In the last couple of years, the president had granted the Heraldo all sorts of favors, bestowing it with radio broadcasting licenses and the concession to a luxury game...

from To the Person Leaving

I have emigrated three times in my life. In 1978, I emigrated from Argentina to come to France, because a military dictatorship had taken hold in my country. In 1999, I emigrated from France, where I'd lived for twenty years, in order to return to Argentina, because I missed it so much. And in 2002, I emigrated from Argentina to return to France, because a financial dictatorship had taken hold in my country. This triple experience of emigration from one side of the planet to the other...

from The Boundless River

Two or three friends are waiting at the airport when I arrive, and after the formalities of customs and greetings, we undertake the car ride from the airport into the city. My trips home almost always take place around the same time of year, and so the same clear spring morning, under a blue sky in which not single cloud can be seen, sparkles in the deserted plain that extends from either edge of the road to the horizon. Many of the numerous travelers who have written about the Río...

from English Craft

The narrator is visiting London, sent by a Buenos Aires newspaper, to interview the famous British author Davies. She is haunted by a profound early friendship with Ana, and equally by a relationship from fifteen years before, with the artist Bruno. Here, two of the protagonists' lives come together again, while Ana persists in memory between them. The newspaper gave the story a splash. It was the first time that Davies had agreed to be interviewed for the Argentine press, and they...

Brief Stories

There was a woman who never did anything without first consulting the I Ching. She imagined a game of roulette in which the bets were paid with the events of the player's life. The monk climbs the hill leaning on his cane. The storm approaches. His disciple has refused to follow him. The enigmatic character of the prophecies allowed her a certain margin for personal decisions. There were several possible futures. She understood that the key to building herself a future was to...

The Bride from Odessa

One spring evening in 1890, from his vantage point up on the Primorsky Boulevard, a young man was watching the movement of ships in the port of Odessa. Decked out in his Sunday finest, he contrasted as much with the everyday casualness of most of the passersby as with the exoticism of others. The fact is, the young man was dressed to set out on a great adventure: his mother had given him his varnished leather shoes; his uncle, a tailor by trade, had completed his made-to-measure suit...

from Before the End

1 I walk along the Avenida Costanera Sur,1 contemplating the portentous river, traversed just over a century ago by thousands of Spaniards, Italians, Jews, Poles, Albanians, Russians, and Germans, driven from their own countries by hunger and poverty. The great visionaries who governed the country at the time offered the Pampas, this metaphor of nothingness, to "all those men who are willing and able," all those who needed a home, a ground in which to lay their roots. After all, it is...

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