Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

viernes, febrero 15, 2008

How Did We Get Here?

Lately, the Dream Antilles has been about Guantanamo and torture. How did that happen? And isn't this, after all, supposed to be a lit blog? You know, a blog about books and literature and writing and fiction. Well, to be honest, the narrator here has a pebble in his shoe, a burr under his saddle. He's annoyed and irritated about torture. Of all things. So, of course, that expresses itself here. And alas, it's likely to continue to come up because your narrator doesn't seem to know how to ameliorate his aggravation. He keeps on ranting. He insists on posting essays on dKos and docuDharma about torture. Then he complains bitterly about the comments the supposedly liberal people at dKos post about his essays. He doesn't receive such a nettlesome response at docuDharma. He says he feels like his hair's on fire. Put another way, the narrator of this blog thought he was beginning a digression about torture, but now it's a whole, full time topic by itself, and he doesn't remember exactly what he was saying before he began meandering. Among the questions he has is why most people in the US, let alone Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain, aren't apparently bothered by torture. Is it your narrator's job to continue to rage and prod on torture until something changes?

Meanwhile, he finished reading Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives, which has fourteen different narrators. And at least two characters (Garcia Madero and Arturo Belano) who are autobiographical Bolanos. The book is about a circle of "visceral realist" poets in Mexico City and takes place also in Northern Mexico, Spain, Israel, and elsewhere. He enjoyed it thoroughly. Let me repeat that Bolano, it seems, has 14 narrators, each of which is convincing. Meanwhile, in your narrator's current writing project, his one narrator is having trouble finding and maintaining his voice. Bolano had an embarrassment of riches. Your humble narrator is toiling away, and his narrator is making his skin itch.

Your humble narrator also finished reading Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which has one narrator, Yunior, who goes from omniscient to being a character in the novel. This is actually a pleasure. Yunior begins outside this historical story of the Dominican diaspora in New Jersey and the DR, but emerges later as Oscar's roommate and Oscar's sister's lover. Oscar Wao, by the way, is supposed to be a Spanglish mispronunciation of "Oscar Wilde." Because Trujillo is so important to the plot (not to worry it will not be given away here) parts of the book resemble aspects of Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat and Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies, but Diaz's story takes all of that to a different level. Diaz's narrator is charming, authoritative, smart, literary, funny, sly. Your narrator's narrator in progress, on the other hand , just isn't. At least not yet.

Both Bolano and Diaz are great reads, and both were recognized by being included in many lists of the Best Books of 2007.

Meanwhile, your narrator is stuck. He remains bothered by torture and his narrator's voice's lack of conviction and consistency. He hopes that things will improve on both fronts soon, but he's not holding his breath. Winter seems interminable.

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