martes, 25 de octubre de 2011

An Un-Review: La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno

Just so you know, I've been wanting to read more of that crackpot J.R. Wilcock's oeuvre ever since a reread of his "Llorenç Riber" mini-pseudobiography last month reminded me of how devilishly entertaining most of his La sinagoga de los iconoclastas [The Temple of Iconoclasts] was for me a few years back.  So imagine my delight when, in aimlessly trolling around the internet last night, I discovered that the still as yet unseen by me El templo etrusco [The Etruscan Temple] that I'd requested for pick-up at the library today comes with this utterly genius descriptive blurb on the back of the book: "Wilcock despliega una vez más su destreza narrativa con una prosa de elegante terrorismo verbal, cuya gran precisión no nos ahorra detalles sádicos, y aun atroces, pero tampoco atisbos de una bellezza indómita" ["Wilcock displays his narrative skill once again with a prose of elegant verbal terrorism, the great precision of which does not spare us sadistic and even inhuman details nor inklings of an untamed beauty"].  "Elegant verbal terrorism"?  That, my friends, is a description of a book I want to read--and will soon.  However, the Wilcock title that I really, really want to read now is the one pictured above that I just found out about even later last night. La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno [The Wedding of Hitler and Marie Antoinette in Hell], which sounds like one of the spurious works that appear at the end of Wilcock fan Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in the Americas, is a book written in collaboration with one Francesco Fantasia and only published after Wilcock's death.  What is it about?  Duh.  However, I love the sound of this thing as described by Guillermo Piro in his Página/12 non-un-review of the 2003 Argentinean edition:

La organización del libro recuerda un poco una famosa escena de Pierrot le fou de Godard, en la que Pierrot-Belmondo, al comienzo del film, se pasea entre la mayoría silenciosa invitada a una fiesta, simplemente escuchando las conversaciones que se suceden a su paso (conversaciones ridículas, en las que todos hablan enunciando slogans publicitarios).  En la boda...  los visitantes del infierno registran las conversaciones que tienen lugar entre los habitantes del infierno mientras se realizan los preparativos para la gran boda entre Hitler y María Antonieta.  Pero María Antonieta duda: Hitler la desea, es digno de ella, pero también Garibaldi cumple con todos los requisitos para poseerla. Y ella duda.  Hay un modo de resolver el asunto; una carrera.  El primero que llegue será aceptado; el perdedor deberá desaparecer inexorablemente de su vida.

[The book's organization is somewhat reminiscent of a famous scene from Godard's Pierrot le fou in which Belmondo's Pierrot, at the beginning of the film, strolls among the silent majority of guests invited to a party, overhearing the conversations that take place in his wake (ridiculous conversations in which the people that speak do so in advertising slogans).  In The Wedding..., the visitors register the conversations that take place among hell's inhabitants while the preparations are being made for the great wedding between Hitler and Marie Antoinette.  However, Marie Antoinette gets cold feet: Hitler desires her, Hitler is worthy of her, but Garibaldi also meets all the requisites for possessing her.  There's a way to resolve the matter: a race.  The first to arrive will win her, but the loser will need to inexorably disappear from her life.]
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La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno was published by Emecé in Argentina in 2003 after originally appearing in Italian as Le nozze di Hitler e Maria Antonietta nell'inferno.  Man, would I love to get my mitts on a copy of it.  How about you?

9 comentarios:

  1. OMG, this sounds amazing and hilarious. I wish it were available in English so I could give it as a gift to a certain friend of mine who has a kind of "madcap Hitler" fetish. (He is Jewish, I hasten to add.) Actually, now that I'm typing this maybe Nazi Literature would be a good choice for him come Christmastime.

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  2. First you lead me to that Daniel Picouly book in which Chester Himes' detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones find themselves in 18th century Versailles on the trail of Marie Antoinette's illegitimate son, and now you're putting another work on my TBR list, again featuring Marie Antoinette, but this time adding Hitler into the mix? What are you - some kind of monster?

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  3. *Emily: Doesn't this sound outrageous? Or wouldn't it if you didn't already have a friend with "a kind of 'madcap Hitler' fetish"?!? I don't know how many people shared Borges and Pasolini as famous friends, but the more I learn about Wilcock, the crazier he sounds: another "amusing weirdo" to cite your famous diagnosis. Cheers!

    *Scott: A monster maybe, but I have to give Amateur Reader all the credit for tipping us off on those super-retro Coffin Ed Johnson/Grave Digger Jones/Marie Antoinette historical fiction/crime hybrids. All I did was review a simple Himes novel! Who would have ever thought that Marie Antoinette would be the star sidekick in all this envelope-pushing fiction, though, huh? Cheers!

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  4. Huh. All right, good. Filed away for future use.

    Honestly, this post represents a healthy chunk of what is best about book blogs - this, did you know about this?

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  5. Tom is right.... Discoveries and all that ... not only memes...
    The title alone makes me curious... Need to have a look.

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  6. Yes, my mitts need to get a grip on this (and it's yet another incentive to learn Spanish...) Like Caroline, the title in all its absurd awesomeness is enough to intrigue me.

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  7. That has to be one of the greatest book titles ever. The images it creates in the mind are so bizarre. I have never heard of this writer and our library in the UK doesn't have it in the catalogue unfortunately. I shall await your review with interest.

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  8. *Tom: While I agree that one of the best things about book blogs should be the role they play in drawing attention to overlooked books, one of the puzzling lessons I learned from "reviewing" Wilcock's book is that it's just as much of a struggle to write something satisfying about a work I haven't read as it is to write something satisfying about a work I have read. Not sure what to make of that, but thanks for your comment anyway!

    *Caroline: I'd imagine that the contents couldn't possibly live up to the hopes created by the title, but on the other hand I wouldn't put it past Wilcock and friend to come up with something truly memorable. In the meantime, it is a great title, isn't it? Cheers!

    *Sarah: Given that Wilcock turned his back on writing in Spanish after he moved to Italy, I think it'd be a beautiful irony if you used this work as an incentive to learn Spanish. At the very least, it's a title that demands attention, no? Cheers!

    *Rise: Agreed!

    *Tom: Agreed (again)! Wilcock was quite a character apparently, so I have high hopes that the work will live up to the title if I ever find a copy of it. Cheers!

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