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La erotica del relato: Escritores de la nueva literatura argentina.

La erotica del relato: Escritores de la nueva literatura argentina. Jimena Nespolo & Matias Nespolo, comp. Buenos Aires. Adriana Hidalgo. 2009. 293 pages. ISBN 978-987-1556-03-8


The twenty-first century has witnessed the emergence of a new generation of writers grouped under the "new Argentine narrative" rubric. This anthology adds to the corpus started by La joven guardia: Nueva narrativa argentina (2005) and continued by Una terraza propia: Nuevas narradoras argentinas (2006) and other, more thematic, anthologies. In a prologue-manifesto to La erotica del relato: Escritores de la nueva literatura argentina, these heraldos (the name is taken from Cesar Vallejo's famous poem) profess a vitalism where words are "erections of the tongue," thus the "story erotics" of the title. For all the posturing and parricides ("We're fed up with the blind librarian," they say, referring to Borgesian aesthetics), their proposal is almost bland: "We tell stories."

Those stories, however, denote some characteristics that might be a cause for reflection about the current state of the Argentine short story. For the most part, these writers are sons and daughters of the economic and political debacle of 2002, but, at first glance, social and political issues are conspicuously absent. The preferred territory for the short story seems to be the strange. The shorter stories (Casiraghi, Brito Barrote, Feld, Levin, Manzano, Murphy, Matias and Jimena Nespolo, Peverelli) tend to work toward a revelation or epiphany, as a classic story would. Of these, Brito Barrote's tale of a nightmarish birth on water, the strange obsession over a tile in Murphy's, and the compilers' stories (Jimena's is about a strange woman who's pregnant and Matias rewrites Quiroga's "Adrift" and "The Dead Man") are the most effective. The longer stories (Coelho, Damiani, Hardmeier, Heffes, Pron, Romero, Ronsino, Vecchio) are almost always morose; some of them show experimentation with form (Damiani) or construct a parallel, imaginative world (Heffes), but ultimately lose tension. Others are competent in the construction of suspense (Coelho) or mood (Romero). The best one (imaginative, satiric, funny; it's about art, sex, and family relationships) is Vecchio's.

Sold as a "literary and cultural intervention" that wants to reinstate desire in literature, La erotica del relato: Escritores de la nueva literatura argentina ends up understanding fiction as a refuge from the world. This "erotics" symbolizes, then, the trip taken by individual desire toward the social and the political. This anthology offers readers many ways to contemplate the fireworks.

Pablo Brescia

University of South Florida
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Author:Brescia, Pablo
Publication:World Literature Today
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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