Editors’ Picks for 2013: La Tempestad

Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the picks in this series, click here.

LA TEMPESTAD

Mexico City

Click here for information about the latest issue

Nicolás Cabral, Edi­to­r-in-Chief

Kingdom Tetralogy by Gonçalo M. Tavares

One of the greatest achievements of 21st century narrative: Um Homem: Klaus Klump (2003), Joseph Walser’s Machine (2004), Jerusalem (2004), and Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique (2007). The last three were published in English by Dalkey Archive Press.

After the Future by Franco Berardi Bifo

A lucid exploration of the century-long obsession with “the future” by the indispensable Italian thinker. Published in English by AK Press (2011).

Der Briefwechsel Thomas Bernhard/Siegfried Unseld [Correspondence]

Originally published in German in 2009, the letters of Bernhard and his editor, written between 1961 and 1988, are a great testimony of a peculiar relationship. A selection was published in Spanish by Cómplices Editorial as Correspondencia (2012). [English rights for this title have been sold to Seagull.]

No tendrás rostro by David Miklos

A post-apocalyptic novel by one of the finest prose writers of Mexican contemporary literature. Published in Spanish by Tusquets Editores (2013).

Palas by Ricardo Cázares

Cázares is a creative reader of the American tradition that includes Pound, Williams or Olson. This innovative long poem was published by Aldus in 2013, in Spanish.

La fila india by Antonio Ortuño

Precise and sharp, this novel portrays the brutality of Mexico’s southern border. Ortuño at his highest moment. Published in Spanish by Océano (2013).

Guillermo Núñez Jáuregui, Editor

Ladrilleros by Selva Almada

The second book by Almada focuses on the interwoven lives of a couple of brick-makers, Elvio Miranda and Oscar Tamai, and the small war that they–and their families–are in. Almada’s style may seem, at first, realistic, traditional; however, there is a slight and disconcerting movement in its atomic form.

Una belleza vulgar by Damián Tabarovksy

A leaf in the wind: it is, as the title implies, a vulgar kind of beauty. The leaf falls to the ground. The wind lifts is over the streets of a middle-class neighborhood in Buenos Aires, taking the narration from convenience stores to restaurants and the small lives of people inhabiting cramped apartments, until the leaf is finally carried away. This is an unaffected novel, utterly unconcerned with the way it will be read. Tabarovksy, the editor of Mardulce, is also the author of the essay Literatura de izquierda.

Gallinas de madera by Mario Bellatin

The work of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Bohumil Hrabal is “read” by Bellatin in this book, composed by two novellas (just as he “read” Kafka’s aphorisms in his previous book, El libro uruguayo de los muertos). Neither psychological nor autobiographical motivations are discernible in this book. Its anecdotes are impoverished, and we are confronted solely by procedure.

Qué hacer by Pablo Katchadjian

This brief novella was published in 2010 by the Argentinian small press Bajo la luna. It evokes the curious narratives of dreams–or of the narrator who tries to relate a series of dreams. Like the recent works of Aira or Bellatin, Qué hacer focuses particularly on the process of writing.

Tu materia son los huesos by Andrés Téllez Parra

Narco-literature (where the spirit of journalism and realism is well and alive) is not the only way writers have approached the violent climate of contemporary Mexico. Others, like David Miklos and his No tendrás rostro or Yuri Herrera, have been more inventive and imaginative, with a closer attention to the historical continuity of violence (it’s no wonder that biblical language–lyrical and ambiguous–is recurrent in many such titles). Andrés Téllez Parra’s first novel takes us to a place that resembles that space, where the language of violence is familiar and, at the same time, distant yet haunting, like a specter.


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