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October 2006

Latin Labyrinths: The Next Generation


Looking for a way through the labyrinth of Latin American literature? Juan Villoro's "House Loses" makes clear the life of a broke-down casino in the hills, and Horacio Castellanos Moya's sweeping novel Senselessness illuminates the violence in Central America. Literature becomes a vehicle to freedom in the imaginary travelog of an exile, One Year by Juan Emar. Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza raises a glass to his friend Gabriel García Marquez. As a kind of apotheosis, Ralph Angel's essay on Federico García Lorca's poetry formulates the immortality of song.

Finally, we discover ourselves in the company of the heirs of the legacy of Jorge Luis Borges. Fernando Sorrentino catalogs brilliant faux-encyclopedia entries on "The Extinction of Basilisks" and "The Diet of Horses," and Alberto Ruy-Sánchez shows the ontological side of the entomological in his sensual "Garden of Voices." Then Aura Estrada divines the aesthetics of Borges in relation to those of Roberto Bolaño. For those readers seeking yet more doppelgängers of the great Argentine librarian, he and they can be found in every text of the following archives.

The House Loses

Terrales was founded by improvident people, who found themselves without fuel in the mountains, and had no wish to return on foot to the desert suns. The sole meeting place (though it would

from “Senselessness”

ONE I am not complete in the mind, said the sentence I highlighted with the yellow marker and even copied into my personal notebook, because this wasn't just any old sentence, much less

from “One Year”

An Introduction to Juan Emar by Pablo Neruda1 I knew Juan Emar intimately and yet I never knew him. He had great friends who he never met. Women who never touched more than his skin. A

from “The Lost Cause: A Memoir of My Life with Gabriel García Marquez”

Whenever he comes to Paris, he calls immediately. "My friend,'' his voice explodes, "Why don't you come have lunch with me?" Now he's the owner of a neat, tranquil apartment

Attempting to Live Inside Federico García Lorca’s “Poema del Cante Jondo” for a While

1 I'm convinced that some languages, languages we neither speak nor understand, are familiar to the ear. For myself, the romance and Semitic languages, the languages of 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

The Garden of Voices

From The Secret Gardens of Mogador: Voices of the Earth TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: In The Secret Gardens of Mogador: Voices of the Earth, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez transports his readers once

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

Selections from Our Archives

Of special concern to Borges aficionados, Alberto Manguel deciphers his detective fictions and Alain Mallard has an epiphany about him by means of oneiric word games. Whereas Cecila


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