Navidad & Matanza

Pretty good review of Navidad & Matanza, the first book to be translated by the interesting CHilean author Carlos Labbé, in Bookforum.

There are at least nine different ways to explain what Navidad & Matanza is about—each version equally accurate and equally inadequate. Here’s one version: The story starts in the middle of a behaviorist experiment. Seven biology students, who also happen to be interested in creative writing, are confined in a subterranean dormitory and dosed with hadón, an anger drug. To pass the time before they either escape or kill each other off, they play a novel-game, which has each one contributing a chapter to a novel by e-mail, exquisite-corpse style: “It involved rolling dice,” Domingo explains, “moving your token to a space with prefigured plotlines and formal constraints, writing a text according to those constraints and, that night, mailing this text to the other participants. Everyone had been assigned a day of the week, except Sunday, a day of rest. It was a game of complex rules and seduction. And the result was out of control.” In this particular battle between chaos and order, we’re challenged to assume that Domingo, as Sunday, is exempted; and to assume that Domingo is the supreme over-narrator; and to consider the possibility that the story we are about to read has several narrators and that Domingo is one of them and that he’s been assigned another day besides Sunday.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Chilean author Carlos Labbé’s Navidad and Matanza If you address me personally in a blog post and mention Bolaño and Zambra and Chejfec and Saer and your name is Chad Post, I...
  2. Literary Secret Santa The folks at HTMLGIANT, one of whom is Quarterly Conversation contributor Ryan Call, are putting together a literary themed Secret Santa that anyone can join....
  3. The Story on Human Skin You may recall that author Shelley Jackson "wrote" a story one word at a time as tattoos on human subjects. (For more on Jackson, her...
  4. Dreams Michael Frayn on dreams. The story, like the dream, as any novelist or playwright will tell you, develops a logic of its own that begins...
  5. The Five Obstructions MadinkBeard reviews The Five Obstructions, a movie which isn’t specifically about literature but whose insights into the creative process are meaningful for all kinds of...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.


Criticism Isn't Free


CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!





Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.