Manel Puig in The Nation

The last of them was published nearly a year ago, but Dalkey Archive’s three reissued Manuel Puig books (with, of course, my introduction heading The Buenos Aires Affair) have been reviewed by Natasha Wimmer in The Nation.

It’s a very nice intro to Puig, although I don’t know why Wimmer thinks Puig should be considered a Boom writer. There’s also this funny bit about the excessively Freudian footnotes in Kiss of the Spider Woman:

Leo’s story reads a bit like a Freudian primer: his inability to climax sexually except in situations where violence is threatened is explored at length. (Puig was very interested in psychoanalytic explanations of human behavior: a number of readers urged him to cut his lengthy scholarly footnotes to Kiss of the Spider Woman, but he was adamant about educating the public.)

He should have listened to his readers. Few things have changed more since the ’70s than our explanations of homosexuality, and the footnotes in Spider Woman sound about as barbarous and medially outmoded as leechings and bleedings. They’re so outdated that when I read the book I generously assumed that there was a whole lot of irony there (and maybe there was).

At any rate, they’re unnecessary. Simply reading the rich dialogue between Molina and Valentin offers a far better explanation for why and how people care about gender than any theory Puig could have summarized in a footnote.

Ad I’ll just end this by exhorting you all, one more time, to read Puig.



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