Latin-Am Readalong – Book Swaps

I’m going to make some book swaps to my Latin-American Readalong – which is fine I think since, even though these are books I’ve already started, I’m pretty sure I won’t be putting anyone out.

I’m not now going to read Donoso’s Curfew this month – or, possibly, ever. I read 9 whole pages, and it just bores me like the last Donoso novel I read. No, that’s it for Donoso: too many boring novels.

And I’m not going to read José Lezama Lima’s Paradiso. This is just a statement of fact. I picked it up again last night, after deciding to give up on Donoso (you can tell I was in a fairly intolerant mood in the first place), and read the following:

Facing this house of druidic lunar suspicions and with tunics left behind by the Stymphalides, sitting in a stone rocking chair of ground mother-of-pearl, the Chinaman of the swift golden crullers, wrapped in apotropaic linen, was moving osseously inside that big stone house, inside his linen billowing in the strong wind. From the weariness inspired in him by a leftover glass egg, he fashioned a very delicate ceremonial baton, sometimes carrying the dream of antelopes and frontal candelabra to the leafy astray at his right hand, sometimes lifting the cottons of one leg to the chair, determined to resist the nocturnal projections behind the crisscrossing of the instrumental ossein.

Probably you think I’d be able to understand it better from the context, but I’ve forgotten by now what the context is – or perhaps, as I’ve come to reasonably expect, there is no further context.

Instead I’ve decided to read (keeping with my plan of representing twelve different Latin-American countries in twelve different months) the following:

  • Three Trapped Tigers, by G Cabrera Infante (Cuba)
  • The Flight of the Swan, by Rosario Ferré (Puerto Rico)

Rosario Ferré will now be the March edition; G Cabrera Infante I’ll fit in some time.


3 thoughts on “Latin-Am Readalong – Book Swaps

  1. I have an unread copy of the Infante as well.
    It’s a striking passage this quote from Paradiso and I think, being a fantasy reader, I can make sense of it. I’m not saying it isn’t dense but it has a strange appeal. I’ve got it here, so maybe that will be my chunky book of the year? Or rather not… Depends on how other things will turn out…

  2. Wow, Donoso (one of my all time favorites), Arguedas (also incredible), and Infante (not quite as great in my opinion, but still impressive). I can’t believe I haven’t run into your blog prior to now….

    But Donoso, BORING? Good lord! Obscene Bird of Night is one of my favorite books of the 20th century. House in the Country nearly as good. Well, I look forward to disagreeing with you further…..

  3. C: I’ve started on the Infante in fact, am so far enjoying it. Seem to be reading a lot of similar structured books at the moment: Infante, Cela, Aragon – soon Perec. – Yes, you might like Paradiso – probably it was my usual bad reading practice that made me annoyed with it. It’s not a novel to lay aside for a few months.

    DA: It’s probably to do with the friends you keep.

    Donoso – I suppose I only gave Curfew 9 pages, which isn’t much – but perhaps enough. I used to like Donoso (Three Bourgeois Novellas – or whatever its English title is – is marvellous, and Taratuta is pretty good, but The Garden Next Door was dreadful “exiled Chilean pontificates on being an exiled Chilean and what kind of novels an exiled Chilean should be writing” (sounds like Bolaño, no?).

    Anyway, I ordered a copy of Lucan (in Latin, naturally) and shall read it and see what it’s like. I think I’ll be reading a bit more Latin and posting on it (not that anyone’s likely to care), starting with Ovid (which I was reading tonight). There’s some Catullus posts something in the archive (some of my personal favourite posts – involving some actual thought on my part, occasionally, and with some genuine research involved (actually, I’ll have to dig out these posts, most of them are held semi-offline still)). – The one post that is there is, curiously enough, on the question of whether a panegyrical Latin poem is sincere or not.

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