domingo, 30 de noviembre de 2008
sábado, 29 de noviembre de 2008
por J. Rodolfo Wilcock
Leí este libro para un curso sobre la literatura latinoamericana después del boom, pero no estoy seguro todavía si es una novela, un libro de cuentos, o qué. Ningún problema. Wilcock, un argentino que se trasladó a Italia cuando tenía unos treinta años, ha escrito algo que se parece a un museo zoológico de locos, soñadores, y otros fracasos humanos. Aunque no puedo decir si Sinagoga es el eslabón perdido entre Borges (Historia universal de la infamia) y Bolaño (La literatura nazi en América) hasta que lea las otras dos obras bajo consideración, agradezco la audacia y la idiosincrasia de la visión de Wilcock. En vez de un hilo narrativo "normal", dentro de estas páginas hay 35 biografías más o menos inventadas. Aunque todas no son igualmente interesantes, la inmensa mayoría de ellas contiene momentos de genialidad y un mordaz sentido del humor. Véase la entrada sobre Aaron Rosenblum, el utopista que quiso "devolver el mundo a 1580" (p. 23), o la entrada sobre John O. Kinnaman, el excavador que visitó Sodoma en busca del féretro de la mujer de Lot pero sólo encontró "una cantidad considerable de columnas y pirámides de sal" y la casa de Abraham con su nombre grabada en la superficie de una piedra (p. 87), para dos ejemplos que son atípicamente "típicos". Divertido.
- Wilcock, J. Rodolfo. La sinagoga de los iconoclastas. Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, 1999.
La Nación (BsAs) tiene dos artículos interesantes sobre Wilcock:
lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2008
Directed by Costa-Gavras
In English and Spanish with English subtitles
Bad acting and a soap opera-like storyline mar what should have been a riveting film about the real life murder of American journalist Charles Horman during the coup in Chile in 1973. John Sheah and Sissy Spacek are basically either annoying or unbelievable in their roles as the young husband and wife who became separated as a result of the military's "mopping up" operations after the coup, a major distraction since the movie's message about the US government's complicity in both the coup and in the cover-up of Horman's death is often powerful and provocative. Jack Lemmon puts in a much more credible performance as Horman's father, a man with wealth and connections who comes down to Chile to try to figure out what might have led to his son's disappearance, but even he's saddled with some seriously creaky dialogue and a director who seems to prefer histrionics to emotional subtlety--a shame since the constant gunfire in the background and the shots of bodies lying bloodied and dead in the streets offer compelling audiovisual witness to just how powerful this movie could have been. (http://www.criterion.com/)
viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2008
- "Juan José Saer (1937-2005): de la voz al recuerdo" (La Nación, Argentina)
- "Juan José Saer: Argentinian writer who lectured in literature in France" (The Guardian, Reino Unido)
- "Juan José Saer: argentino de mate y asado" (Tribuna Democrática, Costa Rica)
martes, 18 de noviembre de 2008
por Juan José Saer
- "Hablan de vicios solitarios, y de vicios que no lo son. Todos los vicios son solitarios. Todos los vicios necesitan de la soledad para ser ejercidos. Asaltan en soledad. Y al mismo tiempo, son también un pretexto para la soledad. No digo que un vicio sea malo. Nunca puede ser tan malo como una virtud, trabajo, castidad, obediencia, etcétera. Digo sencillamente cómo es y de qué se trata". (Cicatrices, p. 138-139)
(Note to other Orbis Terrarum Challenge readers: Although there's a French translation of Cicatrices available, to my knowledge there's no English version of it as yet. Sorry. )
sábado, 15 de noviembre de 2008
Directed by Francesco Rosi
In Italian with English subtitles
- A lawyer: "Murder, kidnapping and blackmail--now it all becomes political."
- Gaspare Pisciotta, Giuliano's right-hand man: "I collaborated with the police. We were all informants. Outlaws, police and the Mafia--they were an unholy trinity."
Best movie I've seen in quite a while. Somewhat like a Sicilian Rashomon, Rosi's penetrating inquiry into the July 1950 slaying of the notorious bandit/freedom fighter Salvatore Giuliano delights in posing more questions than it ever seems willing to answer. Sporting multiple points of view in a documentary-like style enlivened by nods to neorealism, film noir, and the courtroom drama, the film provocatively uses the main question about Giuliano's death only as a launch pad to move on to the larger truths and ambiguities beyond the mystery of who killed him. Shifting back and forth in time to throw light on Giuliano's background as a black marketeer, Sicilian separatist, and career criminal beloved by some for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, Rosi uses an arresting non-linear narrative to craft both a biography of a phantom and a vision of a postwar Sicily fought over by rival factions.While the whodunit aspects of Rosi's work would be interesting enough in themselves, the visuals here are at least equally impressive. Shot entirely in and around Giuliano's "kingdom" of Montelepre and surrounding towns, the rocky Sicilian landscapes make it easy to understand the otherness of the island in relation to mainland Italy (shades of Di Lampedusa's The Leopard). Local actors, almost entirely non-professionals except for those in two key roles, also lend a certain gravitas to the us vs. them tensions between the small town Sicilians who supported Giuliano and the carabinieri from the north assigned to hunt him down. In one scene, a patriot gives an impromptu speech about Sicily and freedom after being inspired by the scenery in front of him. In another, a machine gun battle at night takes place with the only source of lighting being flashes of erupting gunfire. With consummate artistry and unusual restraint, Rosi laudably leaves it up to the spectator to decide if these are competing views of Sicily or just another sign of the disintegration of Sicilian culture also evident in Salvatore Giuliano's "betrayal." A tour de force. Rating: 5/5 stars. (http://www.criterion.com/)
jueves, 13 de noviembre de 2008
- Caravana had its one year blogoversary last Friday. I celebrated the festive occasion with a chile relleno, unfortunately one much less authentic than the one pictured above, and a post written in disappearing ink. In other words, a typical day.
- With Year 1 now completely in the bag, please permit me to draw your attention to the following two changes. First, I've decided to move some of the movie review posts over to Gambling with Countess Dusy Told from here on out. I'll continue to post announcements about any French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish films here, but the books and non-Romance languages movies will be separate for a little while. Second, I'm hoping to post more often in Spanish this year to brush up on my language skills. I'll probably have a flexible "policy" in regard to my challenge book reviews, but I wanted to "warn" all two of our regular readers and any/all random strangers about this in the meantime. By the way, thanks to everybody who visited last year!
sábado, 8 de noviembre de 2008
miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2008
by Miyuki Miyabe [translated by Alfred Birnbaum]
Moving on from a postmodern mystery about confused identity to a more traditional mystery about identity theft, we arrive at Miyuki Miyabe's fine All She Was Worth. I can't remember where I first read about this book (originally published under the title of Kasha), but its absorbing story and steady increase in suspense make it easy for me to understand why it was selected Best Mystery and Best Novel of the year in Japan for 1992. Ostensibly a missing persons story about the sudden disappearance of a beautiful fiancée named Shoko Sekine, the novel derives much of its interest from its peek at the way rampant credit card abuse and identity theft in Japan have made the professional business world and the criminal underworld true partners in crime. Miyabe's characters, from Tokyo police detective Shunsuke Honma's thoughtful family man/grieving widower to the enigmatic woman eventually suspected of usurping Shoko Sekine's identity by means of a horrific crime, are compellingly drawn, and Miyabe manages to tell a tale that touches on brutal credit card collectors, extreme poverty, and the sex slave trade without resorting to the sometimes sensationalistic excesses of her U.S. genre writer counterparts. Perhaps best of all, All She Was Worth concludes with an exquisitely open-ended finale way more subtle and profound than the norm in these types of things. A very nice discovery: 4/5 stars. (http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/)
by Paul Auster
- "What interested him about the stories he wrote was not their relation to the world but their relation to other stories." (City of Glass, p. 7.)