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Showing posts from July, 2016

Harold Abramowitz - This brilliant, poetic novel weaves a new structure for narrative, forces the reader to consider the complex and profound structures hidden in a record of time, each observation of the utterly quotidian transforming into a lyrical evocation of essential significance. Each repetition is a surprise, and each consideration an impossible enigma

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Harold Abramowitz, Blind Spot, Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016.
--from Part One - Hotel




Here, memory like a dripping faucet, slowly leaking events and considerations, one constantly feels like they are balancing on a teetering chair. This rigorous investigation of being leads one to consider the way a world revolves around a man like a vortex, the propensity of clipped phrases that alter, edit, build, revise, a constant modification of the one way one sees the world, exists in the world, remembers. Repetition, like stuttering, leads one through and around the vortex of consideration, yet like poetry the language points and articulates, then stutters again, the text as a glitchy archetype of keeping track, of observation, of the harmonious discontinuity of time’s ebb and flow: “There is no break in the harmony, and no seeing anything but for what it is.”
This brilliant, poetic novel weaves a new structure for narrative, forces the reader to consider the complex and profound structures hid…

Antonio Di Benedetto - Widely regarded as an existential masterpiece and one of the great novels of the Spanish language. Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown

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Antonio Di Benedetto, Zama, Trans. by Esther Allen, NYRB Classics, 2016.


First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature. 
Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good. 
Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its s…