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Articles tagged "Argentinian Literature"

Pulp Fiction as Speculative Sociology: On Hernán Vanoli

I have always been drawn to literature driven by overt or covert sociological inquiries, fictions constructed to understand on various individual or collective levels those vexing questions of cultural or political history that social scientists spend their careers measuring, theorizing, and debating.  It should perhaps not have come as a surprise to me, after reading Hernán Vanoli’s work and looking up the author’s credentials and trajectory, that he is, in fact, a...

State of Hypnosis

María Sonia Cristoff returned to her native Patagonia to investigate parts of the region, once flush with profits from the oil industry, that have become, either from dirty politics or global commerce, ghost towns. She collected her reports in the book Falsa Calma. “State of Hypnosis” is one of several chapters focused on the ways in which the oil industry has long been intertwined with plans for national sovereignty and shattered illusions of progress in...

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...

Magic!

“I can read minds,” said Julian. For the past half-hour, Ronnie had been sitting on the edge of the river bank, his legs dangling and his eyes fixed on the river. It was eleven o’clock in the morning of a late January day, and it was hot as far as the eye could see. The landing stage at the end of the strand, the islander who was making his way across the river in his canoe, the reeds over on the other side of the gully, everything rippling as though imprinted onto the...

Octavio the Invader

He was prepared for the terrifying violence of the light and noise, but not for the pressure, the brutal atmospheric pressure, combined with the Earth’s gravity, acting on that body which was so different from his own and whose reactions he hadn’t yet learned to control. An unfamiliar body in an unfamiliar world. Now, after the pain and anxiety of the passage, just when he was hoping to find some sort of relief, the horror of the situation struck him. Only the arduous...

Situation: To Cast Off A Malady

invite people over. invite everyone.  to a feast.  a big feast. and if the sick one doesn't want to get out of bed, that’s fine, leave him there. let there be music and dancing, and songs and cakes. and if the sick one doesn’t want to dance, leave him, he doesn’t have to. and if the sick one doesn’t want to sing, leave him, he doesn’t have to. and if the sick one doesn’t want to eat or drink, that’s fine, leave him. but let...

Roosters and Bones

If when night falls in the kitchen Someone leans over To look in the sink, he will see That the rooster’s bones Are much less white. The reason is that they don’t remain clean Marked forever By the dark Meat that surrounded them While the animal was walking Or until later When one Supplied or not with instruments Ripped the meat And left the rooster’s Bone out in the open. Compared with those of a cow or a lamb The rooster’s bones are birds Of...

Birthday Party

The lights were down and the speakers at full volume.   “Everyone jump up and down on one foot!” came the thunderous shout of the entertainer who was dressed as a mouse. And the children, like frantic robots, jumped furiously up and down on one foot.   “Remember how crazy we would get when we were seven?” the birthday girl’s smiling father asked one invitee’s mother, shouting into her ear so she could hear.   “And...

Professional

Normal people fantasize a lot about our work, which is really pretty routine and not at all like what you see in the movies. Our first jobs are perhaps the most memorable. Contrary to popular belief, those of us who are experienced refuse jobs that are uncomfortable, difficult, or unpleasant. These fall, naturally, to the beginners. You can always find a needy kid who’s willing to strangle an old man for a hundred dollars. I was just a beginner when I sat down...

The Karma Some Girls Have

By the time the lights went out, they felt as if they were yelling at each other, or that was what they would have said if someone had asked them to measure the violence of their argument. But in truth they weren't yelling, and none of the neighbors could hear them, which was something that they had not bothered to think about. Perhaps earlier, when it had all started, it might have worried them, as it always did, but they had reached that point when people say things they don't...

A Dog’s Life

Translator's Note: When I asked Ani Shua to tell me what motivated her to write this odd little story, she immediately provided the following background information about the legend of the werewolf—or lobizón—in Argentina. To my great astonishment, she wasn't kidding—she maintains this belief really existed in Argentina, as well as the incredible practice of naming the seventh son after the president in order to avoid the possibility of that child's...

On the Tomato

  Brief Vaudevillian Hypotheses Apropos of this Androgynous Fruit 1 Behold the hero of the vegetable patch a modest American marvel with the face of a Chinese lantern. 2 Sheer light made of water: a fleeting heart, pumping muted cries of jubilation. 3 Her fancy dress, her festive fantasy of red confirms a doubt: she's a lady tossed in the salad by mistake. 16 A tomato rots: here lies a misfortune greater than...

Time Out for Blackberries

8 A mushroom in the sauce impresses like a tree: not through violence, through perseverance. 13 Red watermelon humor: meaty appearance, watery vanity. 14 Bolder, the pear: the heart is dead, the shell sings on. 17 Illustrious tyranny of the peach: no proliferating soviet seeds; at heart, just a stony monarch. 20 Uses of the lentil: its double convex zeal focuses earth's joy. 21 The ant is the grape of its kingdom: it models solidarity...

Everyone Has Her Own Small Treasure

Through the crack, you could see the smiling face of a gray-haired woman. Ana greeted her; unexpectedly, an image from a book popped into her head—Alice in Wonderland?—a grinning cat that erased itself. Not all of a sudden: it un-drew itself slowly, first tail, then body, and finally head. Until only its smile remained, rigid, colossal, suspended in the air. This was the same, but the other way around: as if the smile had been there before Ana arrived. Waiting for her. "What...

Shadows across Frosted Glass

For Biby Castellaro Time is so complicated, yet so simple! Now I'm in the living room sitting in the rocking chair, and I can see Leopoldo's shadow in the bathroom while he begins to undress. It seems so simple to think about right now, but when I face the expanse of that now, I immediately realize how weak memory really is. Memory is a tiny little part of every now, and all the rest of that now is nothing but memory's illusion—darting and fleeting too quickly to ever...

from “Rabbit on the Road”

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Runaway Country

¡Argentina, Little green branch afire! -Ricardo E. Molinari LIGHT Fire? No: light. Flame? No: light. Light? Yes: this light. Light like this? No: like smoke from humid candles feeble putrid light like fog that licks the contours and erases them. Light like this? No: a gnawing impedes distinction between the day that is extinguished and the night that never quite closes over the world. Black light? Not even that: barely a shudder...

A Soldier’s Vigil

You'll be coming soon, I'll hear your bike on the gravel, pedaling slowly, the headlight out. You don't need light, you don't need to see us to know who we are, you know me by my smell, what do you smell like, soldier? Like a goat, Lieutenant, like a tulip. I smell like whatever you want me to, Sir. You're coming, it's your watch, you've been waiting for this all week, you can't sleep at night, you take pills, tonight you don't need them. You think...

Borges, Bolaño and the Return of the Epic

During their lifetimes, Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño struggled against vanity and all things pretentious, aspirational, ordinary, and obliging. They are peculiar cases in literature, ones that the literary machine itself seems to reject. They were not bestsellers. During a substantial part of their lives, they existed either under the shadow of public rejection, or in the clandestinity of aesthetic infringement. The relationship they sustained with "their time" and the...

Two Common Misconceptions

One Reasons for the Extinction of Basilisks The most casual observation would seem to suggest, beyond a doubt, that the basilisk species is on its way to extinction. Based on the studies conducted so far, it is clear that this is not the result of their persecution by the natives-driven by their superstitions-but is due rather to the length that these creatures require to carry out their reproductive cycles and the obstacles they encounter in that process. It is patently untrue...

The Infinite Horses

I have seen them sleeping in the pastures, repeated through the fields, at rest; furious and on their knees I have seen them, like haughty gods, completely white, dressed and with ribbons, and wild with manes like the loosened hair of ancient sirens on the beaches. The snakes have dreamed of them, the rushes and the mothers resting were afraid of them beneath the palm trees. Trembling they announced battles, announced the fear and the constancy, like the drumroll they...

The Rematch

"The Rematch" offers a fictionalized account of the downfall of one of Argentina's most famous boxing champions, Carlos Monzón, El Flaco, the World Champion Middleweight Boxer from 1970 to 1977. Monzón defended his title in fourteen fights, defeating the North American boxers Bennie Briscoe and Emile Griffith, among others. In 1983 he strangled his wife and was sentenced to prison. He was killed in a car accident in 1995. When a publisher requested that Ana María...

from Frau Teleprocu

Dante and Philosophy Philosophy contracted a well-trained muscle and lifted her bosom invitingly toward Dante. He leaned forward and snatched a sliver of onion in his teeth. "The sauce too," she murmured. "Infernally delicious." At this point Dante pounced, Philosophy fell back on the carpet, and a steaming sausage was imprisoned betwixt their bodies. Dante let loose a childlike yelp, but she mashed the sausage with a single thrust of her hip, destroying it with the desperation of...

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...

Hotel Almagro

When I first moved to Buenos Aires I rented a room in the Hotel Almagro, on Av. Rivadavia and Castro Barros. I was finishing the stories for my first book and Jorge Álvarez offered me a contract to publish it and gave me a job in his publishing house. I prepared an anthology of North American prose for him, from Poe to Purdy, and with what he paid me and with what I was making at the university I had enough to get set up and live in Buenos Aires. At that time I was working under...

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