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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Review: Camanchaca

Camanchaca Camanchaca by Diego Zúñiga
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me crucé por la primera vez con la narrativa de Diego Zúñiga en una antología, con el título Trucho, curada por el autor argentino Federico Falco para Traviesa. Fue el cuento Omega. Ese cuento y Camanchaca comparten características similares y por lo tanto las dos obras demuestran que la voz narrativa de Zúñiga es consistente y propio. Sin embargo no es único, sino colectivo de una generación joven nacida en la víspera de democracia que comparte tonos y temas comparables a otros autores jóvenes que he leído en la Argentina. Aunque me agradó leer a Zúñiga en formato novelesco porque experimenté más su fortaleza todavía en un texto más largo de 120 páginas que lo distingue de aquellos autores contemporáneos argentinos. Además, nací en los 80s y provengo del país padrino del neoliberalismo, el invasor desenfrenado que obraba en Chile mucho más que en Argentina y que me hizo sentir una cierta afinidad con la historia y el autor nacido bajo la manta de la dicha influencia sobre su país. En la novela, el mundo está saciado con obsesiones de vanidad y de compras banales de ropa de marca y autos, escenas enfrente de la TV sin diálogo y en caminos por carretera sin intercambio sentimental, y otros rasgos de una sociedad entonada por el neoliberalismo y consumo. Ese contraste de unos deseos de un chico de conectar con sus padres y vislumbrar sus pasados, y de saber o escuchar explicaciones de algunas razones por lo que ha sucedido la desaparición de una prima, una muerte de un tío, están sujetas a la banalidad del consumo y progreso materialista. Similitudes que marqué de una adolescencia de clase media en los EEUU. Entonces capaz yo sea parcial a esa conexión que no he encontrado en la literatura Argentina tan palpable.

Este libro provee una tensión bárbara y llevadora que mueve el argumento que se potencia en el flujo y reflujo de lo siguiente. Primero en la operación mental que hace Zúñiga. Es tajante; episodios cortos y contados con pocas palabras, a veces un par de renglones por página, un conservadurismo en cuanto a la información que brinda sobre los personajes que genera un misterio y ambiente onírico que se embellece adentro del marco que se manifiesta en los pueblos chilenos, el desierto chileno, y en el urbano chileno, también. Estas escenas se entrelazan en ese viaje que cuenta Camanchaca por las memorias borrosas del chico. Segundo, se encuentra un viaje que está sincopado con las apariencias de algunos personajes que nunca se materializan completamente, sino en una memoria animada por el chico- el menor- y oprimida por sus padres separados - los adultos responsables. Estas personajes casi fantasmas son las piezas faltantes de la historia del personaje principal, el narrador, que deja que la maquinación y técnica de Zúñiga trabaja sobre ellas y que se hace posible que esta sencilla, sino pesada, historia ser un viaje en sí, abriendo un panorama de la clase media chilena de los últimos 30 años con toda la carga latente que podrá estar ahí en el firmamento, o cosmos, o en la grana de arena en el desierto chileno que se monta y a veces parece como un dragón muerto y enterrado.

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Friday, August 25, 2017


adoquinados sonoros trazan nuestros
desiertos. sus ondas nos levantan
(hover) y se acoplan en las frecuencias
mutas que alzan al cielo una distorsión
que captura el paisaje arenoso del futuro.
cerro nomenclaturado: la jaroba del camello.
¿no existe o existe? glassware, border
control & car search. No hay camellos
norteamericanos él piensa.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Part I – not a beginning, just a blip to be followed by others

This is part I. It is not a beginning. Paul Holzman & Tomás Zambonini were summoned to collaborate by social & spiritual inspirations experienced on public transport, specifically on trains– Paul on the Mitre train lines and Tommy on the San Martín lines. Why should they express themselves now? Because today they still travel those same restricted train lines, mostly out of necessity, and other times out of recreation.  How do we understand ourselves and others when we travel? This is just a blip, to be followed by others, on the map of an uncountable serpentine line of experience and potential energy.

the following was filmed by Sebastián Rocha on an iPhone 4 celular phone on a day of March, 2017.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel should be read by all citizens who live in an imperialist country. They will get a small glimpse, as I did, of how colonialism/imperialism and the "1st world agenda", coddled by a savior complex, is the imposing blind force civilizing other cultures throughout the world. The end result is a chaos, a tearing apart of certain ways of life. The way that Things Fall Apart.

It goes way past misunderstanding, because the dogmas and the manipulation of the external forces- the white man- unabashedly and negligently stomp into town to conquer through word, government, and infrastructure much ado to the salvation of souls. Chinua Achebe juxtaposes these familiar ways of ordering society to the white reader, beginning with Part 1 that establishes the narrative of Okonkwo, his tribe, and family. The reader is witness to a painting that is rich in detail and nuances on all levels; color, paintbrush strokes, medium, tone, and construction. Achebe's language is marvelous and fosters the visuality. Intricately, he narrates customs and protocols that the tribes practice in regards to interpersonal relationships and interfamily relations that are strongly weaved together in spirituality, mother nature, and tradition.

Also, Chinua emphasizes that even between tribes of the same region, there are many different ways of handling matters. So in the 2nd part, when Okonkwo has to exile with his family to his mother's tribe because of protocol in regards to involuntary manslaughter, he begins to develop an alienation, along with his family outside of his norms of his birth tribe. And in the distance, away from him, the white man, not to be mistaken with an albino, begins to appear as a faint breeze in the distance- arriving as hearsay already morphed into many storylines and versions by the time it reaches his ears.

Finally in the third part, out of exile and returning home, the faint breeze blows wind in full force, like the Holy Spirit itself, bringing with it changes and subjugation to the white man and their missionaries. They come in breaking African paradigms and defying the gods of the people with their one and only God. Dialogue and meeting is inexistent and tumults Okonkwo and his tribe further into an unknown abyss that only holds fate in the hands of foreignness, power, and injustice- questioning with no adherence to listening for an answer. So the demise of Okonkwo goes hand in hand with the assimilation of many in his tribe, even his own effeminate son who abandons everything in reaction to a long planted seed of pain and hurt of losing a brother to a traditional protocol as a boy.

In the end, Achebe concludes this dense and emotionally packed novel with an ingenious affirmation. The white pastor will perpetuate the entire story for future white missionaries, ambitious and proseletizing, by depicting what the entire three parts, the experience of Okonkwo, his tribe and family, as a case study on how to deal with Africans of similar circumstance and nature- easily addressed and compressed into one simple paragraph of an entire book. Surely this could be comparable to the few paragraphs I have read on Africa, all at the helm of white and foreign hands. And what about this review? I'm challenged and inspired to read more from the country and continent of Chinua Achebe.

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Review: In America

In America In America by Susan Sontag
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The opening chapter is spectacular. It invades the mind of writer, narrator, and the numerous planes of language. Like a true adventurer, nearly thoughtless in regards to their own well-being and success, Sontag forges the deltas and tributataries of language, ebbing and flowing from narration to an explicit addressing of her own writing style and narrative intention. This potent and daring first chapter also convinced me not to dedicate any more time to the novel since the potential story did not capture me. If, In America, can summit the first chapter, it will be another devastating loss chalked up on my reading list.

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Review: Desarticulaciones

Desarticulaciones Desarticulaciones by Sylvia Molloy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My first encounter with Sylvia Molloy was brief due to the nature and structure of her precise narrative. Thus, it astonishes me that I am so completely saturated with emotion and potential energy. As she narrates her telephone calls and visits with her dear friend dealing with Alzheimer's disease, the reader will suddenly realize a mysterious affinity to the book as it develops with humbly lengthed chapters. They powerfully affirm the axiom, "quality not quantity," and encapsulate some of the most enigmatic and deeper necessities of humanity; language, memory, their meaning and how we are molded and constructed by them, using them and the uncountable processes we essentially use to connect with others. Here, Molloy harmoniously revisits her processes with nostalgia, or more precisely, acknowledgement, as she lucidly, and sometimes painfully, accompanies her beloved friend as they drift away to a different mental and physical realm. The author, in all her vulnerability, exposes that which has been constructed through shared experience, conversation, literary endeavor, and playful folly, and how its composite is autonomously deconstructing, shifting, and seemingly disappearing. However, the strength of Desarticulaciones is in the author's capacity to bring sense and order to the senseless deterioration of the human mind. As the two individuals disconnect, there are moments of great wisdom, logic, and enlightenment, and paradoxically and equally beautifully, from the person who is apparently losing their mind, leaving the clear minded individual in a bewildered preponderance of thought.

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